The Effects of H. Pylori
H. pylori, or helicobacter pylori, is a bacteria living in fifty-percent of the world’s human population that can cause a variety of short and long term effects on a person. In the short term, there are very few symptoms of an h. pylori infection. Over a long-term infection, only 10 to 20% of people will develop a significant condition due to h. pylori effects.
In the United States, h. pylori bacteria affect 20 to 30% of the population; a number that could be tied to growing number of people who experience digestive ailments which have symptoms like common H pylori symptoms.
The highest incidents of h. pylori effects are found in developing countries and in the elderly, though most people with the bacteria contracted it as children. This statistic helps to support the unconfirmed theories about how h. pylori are transmitted from person to person.
Experts believe that we can exchange the bacteria through saliva and fecal contamination – a problem in developing countries. However it enters the body, once it is there it will stay for decades unless treated. Elderly people who develop diseases as a result of h. pylori effects likely have carried the bacteria for most of their lives.
H. pylori effects may increase the risk of asthma and allergies, though these claims cannot be confirmed because studies so far have shown mixed results. The most common effects of the bacteria are chronic gastritis which leads to peptic ulcers, however.
H. Pylori Effects that Show Symptoms in Humans
Though h. pylori effects are often unnoticed in many people, the most common symptoms of the bacteria are related to the digestive system and the effects of the bacteria on the lining of the stomach. The most common of these symptoms are:
Upper abdominal pain
Bleeding, either shown in stool or in vomit
Loss of appetite
The abdominal pain associated with h. pylori effects is often felt as a burning sensation below the ribs and may be thought to be connected to bloating and burping after eating a meal. This may be another reason that so few people are treated for the bacteria infection – they believe it to be a common case of indigestion or heartburn.
H. Pylori Effects on Ulcers
Inflammation is an unseen effect of h. pylori that can cause bleeding and ulcers. When the bacteria has colonized enough (there is a lot of the bacteria in the body), it can cause long-term chronic gastritis – a condition in which the lining of the stomach becomes and remains swollen.
While the lining of the stomach is swollen, the body’s normal function of secreting gastric acids can be either stimulated or prevented. When the swelling stimulated the secretion, it causes more stomach acids to be produced.
The acids can erode the lining of the stomach and this causes ulcers. Once an ulcer has formed, the continued overproduction of the acids causes further symptoms that are painful, like rubbing alcohol on an open wound.
When H. Pylori Effects Need Medical Attention
There is much controversy over whether h. pylori is a normal part of the digestive system that can sometimes get out of hand or is a bacteria that is foreign and should be eradicated (removed) as soon as possible to prevent problem. Regardless of the answer to this question, h. pylori effects aren’t life threatening unless they are causing other conditions to develop.
In general, the best way to know if h. pylori infection is something for which we should seek medical assistance is to pay attention to our body. If you are in pain and experiencing abdominal cramps, it is always the best idea to seek a doctor’s opinion. Abdominal pain can be caused by a number of conditions which, if left untreated, can be very threatening to general health.
Additionally, blood is a sign that something is seriously wrong. You would seek a doctor for bleeding on the outside if it were severe enough and you should certainly seek medical attention for an unknown source of blood.
Vomiting blood and passing blood in stool is a sign of bleeding in the digestive system. It can be caused by benign h. pylori effects like peptic ulcers or a malignant cancer tumor somewhere in the digestive system. In either case, the condition requires diagnosis and treatment to prevent a potentially life threatening illness.
Peptic ulcers as an effect of h. pylori infection can also cause gastric perforations, a serious problem in which the lining of the digestive system has developed holes through and through. This can contaminate the body with all sorts of toxins and leads to death. The symptoms of this condition are bleeding, pain, and nausea and should be considered a medical emergency.