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H-Pylori

H. pylori, short for Helicobacter pylori, is a type of bacteria that commonly infects the stomach lining. 

H. pylori is estimated to infect over half of the global population, making it one of the most widespread bacterial infections worldwide.

Here are some key points about H. pylori:

  • Transmission: The exact routes of transmission are not fully understood, but H. pylori is believed to spread through person-to-person contact. It can be transmitted through oral-oral (such as sharing utensils or kissing) or fecal-oral (contaminated food or water) routes.

  • Role in Diseases: H. pylori infection is associated with several gastrointestinal conditions, including gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), peptic ulcers (sores in the stomach or duodenum), and stomach cancer. It is considered a primary cause of these conditions.

  • Diagnosis: H. pylori infection can be diagnosed through different methods, including blood tests to detect antibodies, stool tests to identify bacterial antigens, breath tests to detect the presence of H. pylori metabolites, and endoscopic biopsies to directly observe the bacteria.

  • Treatment: Eradication of H. pylori is important to reduce the risk of complications and relieve symptoms. It typically involves a combination of antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, clarithromycin, and metronidazole, along with acid-suppressing medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). After completing treatment, follow-up testing is often recommended to confirm the successful eradication of H. pylori. This is typically done through a breath or stool test, performed several weeks or months after treatment.

  • Prevention: It is challenging to prevent H. pylori infection completely. However, practicing good hygiene, such as thorough handwashing, consuming safe and properly prepared food and water, and avoiding close contact with infected individuals, may help reduce the risk of transmission.

H. pylori infection can cause a range of symptoms, although many individuals infected with H. pylori may not experience any symptoms at all.

Here are some common symptoms associated with H. pylori infection:

  • Abdominal pain: This is one of the most common symptoms and is often described as a dull, gnawing, or burning pain in the upper abdomen. The pain may come and go or persist for extended periods.

  • Bloating and discomfort: H. pylori infection can lead to increased gas production and bloating in the stomach or upper abdomen. This may cause a feeling of fullness or discomfort.

  • Nausea and vomiting: Some individuals may experience episodes of nausea, which can occasionally lead to vomiting.

  • Loss of appetite: H. pylori infection can contribute to a reduced desire to eat, leading to a decreased appetite and potential weight loss.

  • Unexplained weight loss: In some cases, H. pylori infection can result in unintended weight loss, especially if the infection is severe or long-lasting.

  • Frequent burping: Increased belching or burping may occur as a result of the excess gas produced by H. pylori infection.

  • Acid reflux and heartburn: H. pylori infection can disrupt the normal function of the stomach and contribute to the development of acid reflux and heartburn symptoms.

  • Dark or tarry stools: In rare instances, H. pylori infection may lead to bleeding in the stomach or duodenum, resulting in dark or tarry stools.

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H-Pylori & IBS

H. pylori infection and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are two distinct conditions that can coexist in some individuals.

Here are some important points to understand about the relationship between H. pylori and IBS:

  • Overlapping Symptoms: Both H. pylori infection and IBS can present with gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or a mix of both). This overlap in symptoms can sometimes make it challenging to differentiate between the two conditions based solely on clinical presentation.

  • H. pylori as a Trigger: In some cases, H. pylori infection can trigger or exacerbate IBS symptoms. The underlying inflammation and disruption caused by H. pylori infection may affect the gut function and contribute to IBS symptoms in susceptible individuals.

  • Post-Infectious IBS: Following an acute gastrointestinal infection like H. pylori, a subset of individuals may develop post-infectious IBS (PI-IBS). PI-IBS refers to the development of IBS symptoms after an infection, and H. pylori infection is one of the potential triggers. The exact mechanisms behind PI-IBS are not fully understood but may involve ongoing gut inflammation, altered gut microbiota, and changes in gut motility.

  • Treatment Considerations: When H. pylori infection and IBS coexist, it's important to address both conditions in the management plan. Successful eradication of H. pylori may help alleviate symptoms related to the infection, but it may not necessarily resolve IBS symptoms. Additional treatment approaches, such as dietary modifications, stress management, and medications targeting IBS symptoms, may be needed to address the IBS component.

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How We Can Help You

Our approach to H. pylori involves addressing the underlying factors that contribute to the infection and supporting the body's natural healing processes.

We take into account the interconnectedness of various body systems and aims to promote overall health and balance.

Here are some key components of a functional medicine approach to H. pylori:

  • Comprehensive Assessment: A thorough evaluation is essential to identify the presence of H. pylori infection and assess its impact on your health. This may involve reviewing your medical history, conducting specialised tests such as breath tests, stool tests, or blood tests, and considering your symptoms.

  • Personalised Treatment Plan: We emphasize individualised care. Based on the assessment, we will develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. This plan may involve multiple strategies to address H. pylori and promote gut health.

  • Eradication of H. pylori: Eliminating the H. pylori bacteria is a primary goal.  We will determine the most appropriate supplement regimen for you.

  • Gut Healing: H. pylori infection can disrupt the balance of the gastrointestinal tract. Promoting gut healing is an essential step in our approach. This may include dietary changes, such as avoiding inflammatory foods and incorporating nutrient-rich, whole foods. Additional support may involve supplements like probiotics, digestive enzymes, and nutrients that support gut lining repair, such as L-glutamine and zinc carnosine.

  • Addressing Underlying Factors: We to identify and address the root causes of H. pylori infection. This may involve evaluating factors such as stress, diet, lifestyle habits, immune function, and other coexisting gastrointestinal conditions. By addressing these underlying factors, you can help reduce the risk of H. pylori recurrence.

  • Individualised Support: We often emphasise the importance of personalised support and ongoing care. They may recommend regular follow-ups to monitor progress, adjust treatment as necessary, and provide guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and optimising gut health.

If you're feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start in addressing your gut symptoms, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Our team is here to help you navigate through the confusion and develop a personalised treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

We have experience in uncovering the root causes of gut issues and can guide you towards optimal gut health. Contact us today to begin your journey towards better digestive well-being.

"Heal the gut, heal the body.

Restoring gut health is the key to overall well-being."

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