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Useful & Interesting Articles

Stomach Ulcers & Helicobacter Pylori

It was thought for many years that lifestyle factors, "living the high life" - smoking & stress as well as poor diet and spicy foods along with stress were the causes of stomach problems like stomach ulcers and chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach). In the 1980's it was discovered that a simple bacterial infection is the culprit for the majority of cases.

Called helicobacter pylori (shortened to H Pylori) this organism weakens the protective lining of the stomach and duodenum (the 1st part of the small intestines), allowing damaging digestive juices to irritate their sensitive linings.

Roughly half of the world's population is infected with H. pylori. However, many people carry the bacteria in their never go on to develop an ulcer or gastritis. Medical research suggests that other factors must also be present along with infection by H Pylori for the damage to take place. The factors that increase your risk for an ulcer from H. pylori include:

Certain strains of the bacteria that are more dangerous than others. An excessive or abnormal immune response in the intestines, Lifestyle habits, like coffee drinking, smoking, and ongoing stress stomach ulcer symptoms present or If an ulcer is found, a doctor will test a patient for H. pylori. Whilst the most common stomach ulcer test which looks for the presence for the presence of H. pylori is a blood test, stool and tissue samples can also be taken. Sometimes a urea breath test (UBT) is used where the patient swallows a capsule containing urea, a chemical made up of carbon and nitrogen (which is produced naturally by the body). If H. pylori is present, the urea breaks down into nitrogen, carbon & carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is absorbed through stomach lining into the blood and then travels to the lungs. Samples of exhaled breath are collected, and the carbon dioxide is measured. The test is about 94 to 98% accurate.