Ulcers and gastritis: from a worry to a science

“Worry is the stomach's worst poison” according to Alfred Nobel but is it so?

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For a long time, it was believed that the cause for ulcers is worry, spicy food and an unhealthy lifestyle. And even though worry often leads to an upset stomach, the discovery of Helicobacter pylori proves that it is not the main culprit for peptic ulcer disease. Helicobacter is a bacterium that “settles” in the stomach and leads to the development of chronic gastritis, ulcers and, in some cases, gastric cancer. Loss of appetite, heaviness in the stomach, frequent belching, acute stomach pain are all symptoms associated with an infection caused by this ancient but recently discovered bacterium. Although it has been with us before we spread across seven continents, it was discovered in the 1980s by two Australians. No one believed them for a long time, but in 2005 they received the Nobel Prize for their revolutionary discovery.

Statistics show that 80% of adults in developing countries and 20-50% in developed countries are infected with Helicobacter, but only 10-15% develop gastritis and ulcers. It is not entirely clear how we become infected, but it is believed that good hygiene, which exists in developed countries, is the cause of the lower infection rates. Usually, if one family member is ill, the others will also be infected. Using common utensils and plates, kissing, living in dormitories and orphanages are just some of the ways that contribute to the spread of the bacterium.

Systematic review with meta-analysis: the worldwide prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection” 

Interesting: One of helicobacter’s discoverers infected himself deliberately to help the research of the bacterium and monitor its development in his own stomach.

Many people do not realize that they are infected at first. Stomach pain, discomfort, nausea and vomiting are symptoms not only associated with this disease. But our lingering discomfort should alert us that we may need to see a doctor and do some research. There are several basic tests that are used in the diagnosis: non-invasive, including blood test, respiratory test and proving Helicobacter pylori antigen in the stool, and more invasive, such as endoscopic-biopsy. The bacterium is rather “persistent” and requires at least two courses of antibiotics in combination with a proton pump inhibitor. The treatment regimen depends on the patient and the doctor’s judgment.

If you get Helicobacter, foods high in Vitamin C, green tea, honey, turmeric, lemon, garlic, onion, thyme, oregano oil and olive oil help eliminate the disease while eating sugar, chocolate, coffee, dairy, meat, acidic products, refined foods, tomatoes, vinegar, salt and spirits are not recommended.

Helicobacter pylori is a possible cause of stomach pain, but it is not the only one. Talk to a Vitu doctor if you have any complaints.

Note: Please note that that there are multiple sources and opinions used for the articles. The publications cannot replace a consultation with a doctor and/or another appropriate specialist, and they cannot be considered a diagnosis or a prescription.

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