Recently I have had a number of clients testing positive for Helicobacter pylori with their G.I Map or CDSA stool tests, and I found that many people had not heard of this bacterial infection, or know what widespread affects it can have on your body.
There are a number of effective natural treatments for Helicobacter pylori, this is important for anyone who does not want to take antibiotics as a treatment option.
It is possible to have a Helicobacter pylori infection, or another type of bacterial, parasite or yeast infection with minimal digestive symptoms, but they can be the main cause behind a wide range of health problems, including hormonal imbalances.
What is Helicobacter pylori
Helicobacter pylori are spiral-shaped bacteria that grow in the stomach and small intestine, and have a tendency to attack the stomach lining. Helicobacter pylori, also known as H. pylori are infections that can be harmless depending on the strain, but they’re responsible for the majority of ulcers in the stomach and small intestine.
There are different strains of H. pylori which can affect the body in different ways, that is why some people can get symptoms while others will be symptom free. There is a new type of stool test that Planet Naturopath does that can detect if you have one of the pathogenic forms of H.pylori, the standard breath test that doctors use cannot do this.
For many years doctors thought that stress, spicy foods and other lifestyle habits where the cause of ulcers, that was until Dr Barry Marshall who had discovered this bacteria in the stomach lining, and decided to ingest it himself to see if it proved his theory right in that this bacteria caused ulcers.
This happened in the early 1980’s and for many years Dr Marshall and his colleague Dr Warren were dismissed for their “theory” that a bacteria could survive in the acidic environment of the stomach and cause ulcers. Eventually they were proved correct and went on to be awarded the Nobel prize for Medicine, as their discovery helped identify the cause of gastritis and ulcers.
H. pylori creates a cytotoxin that causes inflammation, this leads to gastritis and eventually an ulcer, but H. pylori can also cause many other symptoms both in the digestive tract as well as widespread health problems.
The Symptoms of Helicobacter pylori
While H. pylori has been implicated in causing 80% of gastric ulcers and 90% of duodenal ulcers, it can also cause many other digestive symptoms without leading to an ulcer.
These symptoms can all be caused because H. pylori lowers your natural stomach acid production which leads to impaired digestion of the food you are eating. This not only causes many digestive symptoms but also affects the absorption of nutrients from food which leads to other health issues.
H. pylori can also increase your risk of developing SIBO due to the lower levels of acid production, while this can cause serious health problems, it gets worse as H. pylori infection increases your risk of gastric cancer by 6X.
Systemic symptoms of H. pylori
Your digestion is the key to good health, and when things go wrong they can lead to widespread health problems, even if you only have mild digestive symptoms. If you have any of the following symptoms it would be a good idea to investigate if Helicobacter pylori or another pathogenic infection is the underlying cause.
Helicobacter pylori has been linked with
How to test for Helicobacter pylori
H. pylori can be tested via a blood test (not so accurate), a breath test which is what most doctors use as it is fairly accurate and convenient, and a stool antigen test which is the most accurate way to test for H.pylori and you can differentiate between the different types that are pathogenic.
Often doctors don’t test for H. pylori unless you are experiencing symptoms of ulcers, so an underlying infection that can cause systemic inflammation, SIBO and widespread health issues can often go undetected.
At Planet Naturopath we use the stool antigen test using either the CDSA or G.I Map stool test to identify a positive H. pylori infection, this is not only the most accurate way to test for a H.pylori infection but you can also assess many other aspects of gut function, this can include other bacterial infections, parasites, yeasts, inflammatory and absorption markers, and leaky gut.
The G.I Map test tells you whether you have one of the more dangerous H. pylori strains – VacA or CagA – these are the H.pylori strains associated with heartburn, gastritis, stomach pain, ulcers, stomach cancer and heart disease.
Natural treatment options for Helicobacter pylori
While your doctor may not usually test for H. pylori, when they do discover an infection they take it very seriously and usually do what is known as triple therapy or even quadruple therapy. This is when they prescribe 2 to 3 different antibiotics plus an acid lowering drug to try and eliminate the infection, and while antibiotics can be effective they can also lead to other digestion problems, especially if follow up probiotic and prebiotic treatment is not completed.
There have been many different studies showing the efficacy of natural treatment options for H. pylori, and while many of these studies show natural options to be effective you will get a much higher degree of success if you use a combination of supplements.
It is always best to work with a practitioner experienced in the natural treatment of H. pylori or schedule an appointment at Planet Naturopath to work out a customized treatment plan for you. At Planet Naturopath we can recommend high quality practitioner only products, as well as take into account other contributing health conditions.
Your treatment strategy and length of treatment is going to depend on the amount of H.pylori that you have and the particular type of H.pylori strain that you have, this is another reason to choose the G.I Map test as it helps you to be more specific with your treatment strategy.
Effective natural treatments for Helicobacter pylori
Below is a brief summary of the evidence based natural treatment options for H. pylori.