Stomach Bug – how to get rid of H. pylori

19th October, 2023
Stomach bug - How to get rid of h.pylori

What is H. pylori (helicobacter pylori)?

We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘stomach bug’ (and probably the effects too)! Yet, most of these bugs don’t actually set up camp in the stomach. Instead, they infect your intestines. Your intestines are where the process of digestion is completed and is where nutrients are absorbed from your food. This is because the stomach is too acidic for bacteria to live. However, we know of one type of bug that can survive there: the bacteria, helicobacter pylori, (AKA H. pylori).

Read on to see how we pick up this pesky bug. What it means for our guts. And how we can treat it.

How do I get H. pylori?

How we get infected with H. pylori is not entirely understood but it is thought that we can get it from someone else by kissing or coming into contact with contaminated water, vomit or poo. H. pylori is also more common in certain parts of the world like Asia, Africa and South America.

What are the symptoms?

H. pylori has been linked with different tummy troubles including bloating, loss of appetite, feeling full quickly, nausea, stomach pain or burning (especially when you are hungry), weight loss and stomach ulcers.

Fun fact! Barry Marshall, a doctor from Australia, won the Nobel Prize for literally drinking stomach juice from his patients. The stomach juice contained H. pylori, which eventually gave Dr Marshall a stomach ulcer (don’t try this at home)!

H. pylori is also associated with increased risk of developing stomach cancer. Fortunately, identifying and treating H. pylori reduces this risk.

How do I know if I’ve got H. Pylori?

If you think that you could have H. pylori then make an appointment with your doctor If they think it’s appropriate, they can arrange a test for you. There are a variety of non-invasive tests you can do for H. pylori including breath, poo and blood sample testing. Although, if you show alarm symptoms, then your doctor may refer you for an endoscopy procedure.

What should I do if I test positive?

If you test positive for H pylori, don’t panic! H. pylori can be treated. The most effective treatment for H. pylori is called triple therapy – a combination of antibiotics and antacid medications to help kill it off. It is recommended to do a follow up test after your course to make sure the treatment has worked.

Can I get rid of H. Pylori naturally?

Some online articles claim you can heal H pylori infection with herbs and other dietary changes. Whilst there is no concrete evidence for these claims, there are some natural things you can take alongside triple therapy to help it work better. These include kefir (a fermented milk drink) and probiotics. You can see which probiotics work in our reviews section.

What if I test negative for H. Pylori but still get stomach aches?

If you test negative for H. pylori then something else could be causing your tummy troubles. There are many causes for a troubled tummy. These can include things like food intolerances, slow emptying of stomach contents into the intestines (gastroparesis), and hormonal changes. That’s why we recommend talking to a medical professional about what could be causing your symptoms.

Still bugging you? Learn more about how H. pylori works here.

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