H Pylori Symptoms
It was once thought that stomach ulcers were created by neurotic behaviors but we know better today. Today, we know that most stomach and duodenum (small intestine) ulcers are generated by a bacterial infection known as Helicopter pylori (h pylori). Unlike other bacteria, h pylori creates a strong basic solution around it to protect itself from stomach acids allowing it to survive the very acidic nature of the stomach. If the bacterium persists for some period of time, it can do damage to the stomach lining and cause inflammation and other stomach wall damage. This infection is not uncommon and generally these bacteria are kept to a minimum however, in some individuals they are able to proliferate and take over and generate h pylori symptoms. This bacterium is believed to come from tainted food and water sources. When h pylori symptoms become apparent, you experience gastritis (stomach inflammation) or what is known as a peptic ulcer. H pylori symptoms include a grabbing sensation or burning stomach pain usually just below the rib cage and not to be confused with heart burn which is much higher. In general, h pylori symptoms are worse when you haven’t eaten and subside when you do eat. Some individuals experience other h pylori symptoms such as loss of appetite and weight loss, indigestion, bloating, nausea and vomiting. The vomit may contain blood or have an appearance of coffee grounds. If serious, you may see black or tarry stools. In order to diagnose this properly, the doctor may have you swallow a barium tracer so an upper gastrointestinal series can be done with X-rays. Another procedure that can be used is known as endoscopy. In this procedure they will place a flexible tube down your esophagus into the stomach and into the intestine to view any lesions you may have in any of these areas. The doctor might also require a blood test to see if you are carrying antibodies for h pylori indicating that you have this bacterial infection. You may need to provide a stool sample as well to see if h pylori are there as well.
H pylori symptoms can be very uncomfortable and need to be corrected as soon as possible. Sometimes h pylori symptoms can be difficult to get rid of and may come back again and again. More often than not antibiotics are used to kill the bacterium and medications such as H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors. H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors help the stomach to produce less acid. If ulcerations become serious, surgery may become necessary.
Patients need to be careful what they eat at this time. It is suggested that you eat bland foods, and make sure to stay away from spicy, fatty and acidic foods. If you are a smoker, now is a good time to quit. Smoking is known to interfere with the healing process of ulcers. Not only that, but smoking can make this problem come back again.
Once infected by this bacterium, you may have trouble getting rid of it. H pylori symptoms are best treated by prevention. H pylori symptoms can be nagging and long term so you need to protect yourself. This mechanism is not well understood nor is it understood how some people are infected and not others. Make sure you eat and drink from healthy sources and wash your hands frequently. Practice safe food handling and storage at all times.
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