Have you ever heard the term H. pylori? Probably not. But this type of bacteria that thrives in the human stomach, ranks as the most common chronic infection worldwide, according to Dr. Mehmet Oz, author of "YOU: Losing Weight: The Owner's Manual to Simple and Healthy Weight Loss" (click for details). In a recent blog, he explained the link between gastritis, ulcers and that bacteria. Discover what you need to know about this potentially painful problem.
H. pylori can impact anyone. In the U.S., about 50 percent of people over 60 have it, and those under age 60 also may be infected, sometimes even without knowing it. "Once someone is infected with h. pylori, it travels to the stomach and sets up shop underneath the mucous lining that protects the stomach lining. By damaging this mucous layer, it triggers inflammation and makes the stomach and part of the small intestine vulnerable to damage from the harsh acids produced during digestion," explains Dr. Oz.
So what's the connection to ulcers or gastritis? H. Pylori results in irritation. In turn, that can result in ulcers or chronic gastritis. And that's where you feel the pain: Abdominal pain, fatigue, bleeding and even anemia may result. If you have any of these symptoms, visit your doctor for professional help and tests. Treatments usually involve "a combination of different antibiotics, and a medication to decrease acid production in the stomach. Often, doctors retest patients after they’ve finished their antibiotics to make sure the bacteria are gone," says Dr. Oz. And the good news: "Once the pesky infection has been eliminated, reinfection is unlikely."