Could I have Helicobacter pylori?

Dysbiosis is a term used to characterise imbalances of the microbiome in the stomach.  Many people suffer from harmful gut bacteria and the digestive symptoms that accompany them. At least 1 in 3 Australians carry around a harmful bug called H pylori; many of whom are undiagnosed. When you think about it this it’s likely that at least one of your family members could have it! Typical symptoms you may notice include indigestion, nausea in the mornings, easy satiety, abdominal fullness, heartburn, burping or pain that becomes worse after eating. At worst, H pylori can cause stomach ulcers and even increase cancer risk. Unfortunately most people aren’t tested for it unless they display symptoms of an ulcer.

What causes H pylori infection?

There are many reasons that you may have contracted this infection. It may be passed around family members, or if you are living in crowded conditions. However, here are the most common causes:

  • Food intolerances
  • Smoking
  • Regular alcohol consumption
  • Drinking contaminated water (consider if having travelled overseas.)
  • Living in a developing country
  • Certain pharmacy medications such as those used for heartburn and reflux.

How can I get it Diagnosed?

The most reliable diagnosis is established from a breath test by your GP. Antacids such as Mylanta and Gaviscon dilute stomach acid and therefore minimise pain. However, long term use increases further infection risk. This heightens the likelihood of a condition known as SIBO (Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth.)

H pylori can’t survive stomach acid, so it cleverly coats itself in a protective ammonium shield to prevent eradication by the immune system. This ammonia can create cell toxicity, causing upper abdominal symptoms.

How do I get rid of it?

Medical intervention usually involves 3 medications, known as Triple Therapy to eradicate the infection and dilute stomach acid. Ingredients include one antacid and 2 antibiotics. This may have limited impact, as the protective shield formed by H pylori can also withstand many antibiotics, making it difficult to destroy.

Another class of drugs known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s) also decrease stomach acid and reduce heartburn and reflux symptoms. Some examples of PPIs include Losec, Nexium and Somac.  Despite symptomatic relief, the underlying cause still hasn’t been addressed. That means, when stomach acid is decreased, H pylori can actually thrive and create more growth! What alarms me is that PPI’s are often given to babies who suffer from regurgitation, which may set up H Pylori infection from a very young age!

Naturopathictreatment aims to:

  • Eradicate the infection with anti-microbialherbs
  • Strengthen and repair the gastric mucosal liningusing herbs, diet and nutritionals
  • Improve immune system resistance with theaddition of specific beneficial gut flora (probiotics).
  • Remove dietary triggers that sustain H pylori growth.

If you suspect you have symptoms of H pylori or SIBO, assistance is at here! Call for a free 15 minute discovery chat to see if naturopathy can help you. Don’t suffer any longer: if you take action, you could be feeling better really soon. Contact me.

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