It is incredible for how long time medicine could miss the main cause of the the stomach ulcer and many other diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. But it sounds encouraging that officially it is known the cause-Helico bacter pylori that we would talk about right now.
What is it all about?
Until recently in medicine it was thought that for gastritis and peptic ulcer the main fault was increased acid (ulcer on the stomach, duodenum and lower part of the esophagus). Accordingly, the diagnosis of the “ulcer” was immediately followed by medications for lowering (neutralizing) of the gastric acid (antacids), with special dietary regiment.
However, decades back, all these measures did not give good results. Peptic ulcer didn’t disappear, but on the other hand, there were more and more of them. Statistical dates show that today, in European countries around 20% of the population suffers from some type of ulcerated lesion of the stomach and duodenum. For this reason more often we can find a question: “What is it all about”?
Did scientists and doctors miss something and for decades ulcer was treated in a wrong way?
Discovery of the helicobacter
Mystery is finally solved!
Hydrochloric acid, as stomach content, is not regarded any more as the only cause for the ulcer appearance.
This discovery was worth the Nobel prize. So, in 2005, scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren got the Nobel prize for discovery of Helicobacter pilory.
As it turned out, there are “unfortunate” bacteria that causes gastritis, peptic ulcer and many other gastrointestinal diseases. We gave it name “unfortunate” because it is very resistant and able to survive in extremely unfavorable conditions for life. In the same time it is the reason why it remained undiscovered for such a long time. Until then nobody had any idea to search for inhabitants in the stomach, because it was considered that in such acid environment no “inhabitant” can survive. However, helicobacter pilori can perfectly survive and very low pH does not endanger it.
Unique properties of helicobacter pilori
Basic characteristic of helicobacter pylori is capability to survive in acid. How it manages? Helicobacter pylori survives as it has ability to hide in stomach lining (stomach mucosa).
So, it finds place in very tiny layer of the mucosa that protects the wall from stomach acid, but in the same time it is very hostile for all microbes. Beside that, helicobacter pylori has its own acid protection, in the form of the protective layer or capsule that surrounds it. Another important characteristic of this bacteria is that is capable of moving very actively and it does by estimation of the level of the acidity in the stomach, that estimates perfectly. Such characteristic really enables to the helicobacter pylory that for years, very “satisfied” remains in the stomach.
What happens with the patients?
Chronic infection of helicobacter pylory in patient causes atrophic and even metaplastic changes on the stomach, duodenum and esophagus. Especially is known connection of helicobacter pylory with peptic ulcer diseases (peptic ulcers, duodenum and esophagus). It is considered that this type of bacteria can be cause of carcinoma of the stomach.
However, very often infected persons do not have any symptoms of the infection with helicobacteria, but when it comes to disease development, symptoms often can include:
Nausea and/or vomiting
Pain in the stomach and/bowels
Sensation of heaviness in the stomach
Sensation of fast satiety
Burning in the upper part of the stomach
Will infected persons develop some gastrointestinal disease or not, depends of life style and personal habits. So, in risk group often we find smokers and alcoholics.
How one can protect from helicobacter?
According to the statistic more than 50% of the world population is infected with helicobacter pylori, but percentage in those that develop disease is fortunately less, but is more present in undeveloped parts of the world and in those places where hygienic conditions are not on a high level.
However, prevention of the infection with helicobacter pylori means hygienic measures. Helicobacter pylori is anaerobic bacteria, or, namely, it dies in the air. So, most often it is transmitted through body fluids. It can be transmitted using common dishes, and generally speaking, when basic hygienic rules are not respected.
The most often way of the infection are oral route, or fecal -oral route.
Helicobacter pylori – treatment
Regarding the fact that helicobacter pylori is treated with antibiotics, the therapy has to be under strict control of the doctor. Types and doses of the antibiotics are prescribed according to estimation and statement of the damage that has occurred. Sometimes treatment with antibiotics can cause significant damage to the body (greater than the bacteria itself), so in these cases we do not prescribe this kind of medicines.
Treatment of the helicobacter pylori requests combined therapy, and special attention should be dedicated to the patient’s life style and general health condition.
Diagnostic procedures for discovering for discovering Helicobacter pylori infection:
- invasive (examination with sonde) – endoscopic examination with targeted taking of the samples (byopsy-fast urease test, hystology or culture).
- noninvasive (examination without sonde)- methods that reveal presence of the Helicobacter pylori.
- exhalation- prove of the activity of urea bacteria-with exhalation test.
- blood test- presence of the specific antibodies in the serum of the infected person (this therapy is not good in case the therapy was taken previously).
- stool tests – with test that proves antigen of the patient.
Atlas clinic can give you adequate diagnostic and treatment of the helicobacter pylori with individual access to every patient. If you know or have doubts that you’re infected with helicobacter pylori, you can make an appointment with our specialist on the phone: +381 11 785 88 88.