10 Things You Should Know About Ulcers Caused by Helicobacter Pylori

By at December 27, 2010 | 3:14 pm | Print

10 Things You Should Know About Ulcers Caused by Helicobacter Pylori

10 Things You Should Know About Ulcers Caused by Helicobacter Pylori
by Vicky Reary

Most people think that stomach ulcers are caused by stress, drinking alcohol, smoking, or eating too much spicy food, but those are all myths.  Researchers have successfully proven these are not the cause of Gastric Ulcers or more commonly called Peptic Ulcers (ulcers of the stomach).

  1. Taking aspirin or ibuprofen has been shown to cause some peptic ulcers, but the main culprit of ulcers (sores or holes in the lining of the stomach) is actually caused by a bacterium known as Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori).
  2. This little bug may have been living in your stomach for many years with not symptoms of its presence.  Some people may develop ulcers from this bacterium and some may not.  Researchers have not been able to determine why this happens. There is a lot we don’t know about H. pylori and another thing we haven’t figured out is how it is transmitted.  It is thought that it may come from contaminated food or water.  It’s found in body fluids saliva, vomit and stool, so coming in contact with these fluids may transmit the bacterium.
  3. This corkscrew-shaped bacterium survives in the acidic environment of the stomach by living beneath the alkaline mucus layer, then producing an ammonia-like chemical to protect itself from the stomach acid.
  4. Peptic ulcers develop when H. pylori damage the mucous coating of the stomach, causing a hole that allows stomach to damage the tissue underneath. H. pylori can also cause tissue damaging ulcers in the first section of the small intestine called the duodenum.
  5. Here are some symptoms of peptic ulcers: Abdominal discomfort, dull or burning pain between the navel and breastbone, Pain felt when stomach is empty – between meals or during sleep, Pain that lasts several minutes to hours, Pain that comes and goes for days or weeks, Weight loss, Poor appetite, Bloating, Nausea, Vomiting, Indigestion
  6. Doctors can best for H. pylori through blood, stool or breath tests.
  7.  Emergency Symptoms that require urgent care: Sharp sudden persistent and severe stomach pain, Bloody or black stools, Bloody vomit that looks like coffee grounds. For emergency symptoms, doctors perform endoscopy or upper
  8. gastrointestinal (GI) or “scope examinations”.
  9.  The good news is 80-90% of peptic ulcers caused by H. pylori can be cured with a combination of antibiotic drugs to kill the bacterium and other drugs like Pepto-Bismol to reduce stomach acid and protect the stomach lining.
  10. It’s very important to be retested after treatment to verify that the H. pylori bacterium is no longer present in your system. The chance of a peptic ulcer reoccurrence after treatment is less than 1% within five years following successful treatment. 

BONUS: A few ways to help prevent the H. pylori infection:

  • Wash hands after using bathroom and before eating
  • Eat properly prepared foods
  • Drink water from a clean, safe source

 Works Cited

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  1. […] is well established that the bacterium H. pylori is responsible for most stomach ulcers. However, what often is not known is that they also play a beneficial role in regulating our […]

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