Helicobacter pylori infection

We hear a lot about the intestinal microbiota, but we know much less about the bacteria that live in other parts of the digestive system. When we think of the stomach, one bacterium usually comes to mind – Helicobacter pylori.

Helicobacter pylori is a spiral-shaped gram-negative bacillus that lives in the gastric and duodenal mucosa. Living in such difficult conditions is possible thanks to the neutralization of the acidic pH of the gastric environment. Research suggests that it may affect over 65% of adults in the European population. Most infected people do not have any symptoms related to the presence of bacteria in the stomach or duodenum. However, some people may experience inflammatory changes in the mucosa, most often painful ulcers, as H. pylori produce toxic substances that negatively affect it.

Helicobacter pylori causes

Helicobacter pylori infection is not fully understood. Most often, it occurs via the oral-oral or oral-faecal route, so because of the contact with an infected person. Infection through contaminated food products, mainly vegetables or water, is also suggested. Symptoms that may suggest H. pylori infection include nausea, abdominal pain, heartburn, belching, flatulence, fever, and appetite disorders. The symptoms are not very specific and can refer to numerous diseases or disorders, which is why proper diagnosis is crucial here.

How to diagnose Helicobacter pylori?

A gastric or duodenal biopsy is a good method of identifying infection but is very invasive and expensive. Therefore, the recommended method may be a faecal real-time PCR genetic test, which identifies the bacteria and the most common mutations. You can read more about the examination here (https://genxone.eu/en/kategoria-produktu/gastrointestinal-infections/). In addition, the test finds if the bacteria are resistant to clarithromycin. It is an antibiotic that is very often used to treat H. pylori infection. Therefore, that test, performed before treatment, is crucial and thanks to it, it is possible to immediately use the right drug. This allows you to shorten the treatment time and completely eliminate Helicobacter pylori infection.