Helicobacter pylori is a spiroid bacterium living in protective phlegm that barrier the stomach layer. The total helicobacter contamination reaches roughly 60% of world adult population.
Urease secreted by the H. pylori protects it against the corrosive gastric juices. The hostile agent forms a shielding husk to neuter the intolerable. The cells become tender to the acids. The hostile agents change the immunological response so that they can harbor. The toxin, produced by helicobacter, increases the peristalsis of the gaster and ends up in persistent irritation.
Persistent helicobacter infection is linked to stomach infection, gastritis, peptic sores, and increased risk of cancer. Though, peptic ulcers manifest in 10% of incidents.
How a person gets sick?
H. pylori is contagious, and it passes to a person from family and household members. The helicobacter is an anaerobe, it dies in the air, but is disseminated in saliva, mucus and gastric and oral secretions. The bacteria spread through faecal-oral route, including mother’s kissing, and unsanitary conditions. If a contamination happens the virulent agent remains in the duodenum for life, unless antibiotics are prescribed.
Helicobacter pylori symptoms
H. pylori infections more often are non-destructive. The key signs, that directly indicate the stomach infection include often recurring severe and cutting ache in the belly. The ache occurs at night or some time after meals when the person is hungry. Taking anti-acid pills ease pain. Patients may complain about epigastric burning that gets worse with time, heaviness in the stomach, unexplained weight loss, lack of appetite, poor digestibility of meat, regurgitation and vomiting. It is recommended to visit a doctor as soon as possible if you notice blood or a black color of feces or vomit.
How is H. Pylori detected?
- The easiest way to confirm the infection is to search for the helicobacter antibodies in blood plasma. The examination allows to find out whether a person had been sick with h. pylori infection, but the analysis is not performed to evaluate the efficiency of the cure. The serologic assay is indicated as a screening study for the helicobacter infection.
- Helicobacter is revealed by the urea breath test. The contamination of the alimentary tract can be defined by analyzing the exhaled air after drinking a liquid with urea. The examination is used to estimate the efficiency of the medical cure and is performed at least one month after the course is ended. The respiratory assays are suggested for children due to the limited potential of intrusive manipulations in childhood.
- Fecal probe on h. pylori antigens is also widely used. To measure H. pylori in fecal masses, an enzyme multiplied immunoassay and an RCR are performed. EIA is an extremely sensitive and specific test and is set as a standard in the estimation of H. pylori infection both before and after eradicative therapy.
- The most reliable identification methods of H. pylori are the cultivation, histology and molecular-genetic examination.
- The peculiarity of the bacteriological cultivation is almost 100% and the sensibility is 90%. The helicobacter is cultivated on nutrient solution. The cultivation is mainly performed for scientific purposes or to evaluate the unresponsiveness of H. pylori to antibiotics in the case of ineffective therapy.
- During endoscopy, a little in size piece of the mucin membrane is taken and used to verify the H. pylori dissemination in the alimentary tract. The histology allows to find out the helicobacter in the gastric mucosal layer, count the level of dissemination and location of the agent, the form of the helicobacter, as well as the consequences of its influence on the tissues and the level of morphological mutation in the stomach muculent layer, related to the h. pylori infection (inflammation, atrophy, thaumatropy, dysplasia).
- Molecular genetic analysis (PCR) is known for its supreme peculiarity and sensitivity, the possibility to find both vegetative and coccal forms of H. pylori, the potential to define concrete genes of the hostile agent to assess its virulence. PCR is the fastest way as it determines the agent within 5 hours.
The most frequent complications:
- internal bleeding,
- peritoneal inflammation,
How to reduce h. pylori?
After eradicative therapy, the relapse of duodenal ulcer decreased from 67% to 6%, and recurrence of gastric sores – from 59% to 4%.
The starting cure for h. pylori infection mainly includes complex therapy aimed at the destruction of harmful agents in the digestive tract. All therapy protocols emphasize the need for three drugs minimum: a proton-pomp inhibitor to cut the level of digestive secretions and antibiotics to eliminate the microorganism. The continuance of therapy is seven days.
The observance of strict hygiene rules is equally significant. It is better to wash hands before each meal, and do not use dirty dishes and towels and other people’s personal supplies. If a family member gets sick the whole family need to get checked as well.
Hints to warn the infection:
- Avoid food that has been inadequately cleaned
- Cook food to a high temperature
- Avoid places where with inadequate cleaning facilities
- Practice proper hand washing
- Get adequate nutrition
- Get adequate vitamin C intake
- Eating utensils and drinking glasses should never be shared
- Tomb, Jean-F., et al. “Corrections: The complete genome sequence of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori.” Nature389.6649 (1997): 412.
- Blaser, Martin J., et al. “Infection with Helicobacter pylori strains possessing cagA is associated with an increased risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the stomach.” Cancer research 55.10 (1995): 2111-2115.
- Parsonnet, J., et al. “Risk for gastric cancer in people with CagA positive or CagA negative Helicobacter pylori infection.” Gut 40.3 (1997): 297-301.