Sunday, May 8, 2011

Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium which lives in the mucus lining of the stomach. If you have never heard of it you are not alone. But it also does not mean that you don’t carry it. Unfortunately, the immune system cannot protect us from the infection caused by the bacterium, and goes often undetected; until the carrier develops ulcers, gastitis or other discomforts.

The occurrence of Helicobacter pylori is very common in underdeveloped countries. Scientists Dr Barry J. Marshall and Dr J. Robin Warren of Perth, Western Australia, have just recently (25 years ago) discovered HP’s existence. It was accepted knowledge in the medical community that no bacterium could live in the acid environment of the stomach. Because of this important discovery the Drs. received the Nobel Prize in 2005.

According to the Mayo Clinic, most patients don’t show any signs or symptoms. Once an acute infection occurs you may experience:

• An ache or burning pain in your abdomen
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Frequent burping
• Bloating
• Weight loss

Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any persistent signs and symptoms that worry you.

Seek immediate medical help if you experience:
• Severe or persistent abdominal pain
• Difficulty swallowing
• Bloody or black tarry stools
• Bloody or black vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds

I didn’t have any of the symptoms. My physician discovered the presence of HP through a routine blood test. He prescribed a natural product called Pyloricil  which I am taking now.

If you assume that you may have been affected by HP, either through international travel, or coming in contact with unsanitary living circumstances, there is an easy breath test which some physicians administer.

If you have any more questions about HP, please visit the Helicobacter Foundation

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