#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: H. Pylori Infection


Q: I was having stomach problem even to the extent of losing weight, so I went to hospital, did some tests and found out that I’m H. pylori positive. They gave me some drugs. After taking all these drugs, nothing has changed. I am still feeling hungry and thirsty even after eating and drinking. I haven’t even added 1 pound since then. It has been 2months now. Please what could be the problem. Always feeling as if my tummy is burning

A: Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) has been found to be a cause of peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcer is a sore in the stomach, esophagus or duodenum and occurs when there is either over-production of this gastric acid in the stomach or reduction in the quantity of mucous that protects the stomach from the acid.

In the past, it was thought that spicy foods caused peptic ulcers. However, there’s no evidence to support this, though spicy foods can certainly make the symptoms of ulcer worse. Smoking, stress and drinking alcohol are also likely to worsen the symptoms of peptic ulcer. Caffeinated and carbonated beverages may also be culprit. Ulcers are also common in people who take certain pain relieving drugs known as Non- Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen.

People with peptic ulcer usually complain of burning abdominal pain or even sometimes, chest pain as the pain can be anywhere from the breast bone to the navel…giving room for a wide range of descriptions, typically burning. The pain is usually worse at night or when the stomach is empty.

People with ulcers may vomit blood or pass out fresh or altered blood in stool. For the latter, the stool looks tarry black. Complications of peptic ulcers include internal bleeding, leakage of the acid into the abdominal cavity etc

Treatment is targeted at reduction in acid production, neutralization of acid, treatment of Helicobacter infection, promotion of healing or protection of stomach lining. Your doctor will determine the best option or combination(s) with your active participation, of course

Thus, prevention is targeted at switching pain relieving drugs (if you have an ulcer, please stay away from NSAIDs), reducing your level of stress, stopping smoking and reducing your alcohol intake. Maintaining a healthy diet filled with loads of fruits and veggies, which provide sufficient vitamins to aid healing, is also a good way to go. It is still not very clear how H. pylori infections spread but it is thought to be probably from person to person or from food and water. So, judicious and very frequent, hand washing will certainly help

Does milk help? Well, temporarily but it quickly makes it worse. Milk coats the surface of the stomach, reducing the pain but then stimulates more acid production. Sounds like you can’t win, aye?! ;D

So, see a doctor first to confirm whether the H. pylori infection is still active and also to understand your new symptoms and then s/he’ll advice on treatment.

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