If you’ve been a frequent visitor, you will be aware that our household is undergoing some radical changes with diet and lifestyle, prompted by a keen desire to improve our health. However the path that we have taken has had many ups and downs, crossroads and detours due to new diagnoses impacting on recommended dietary treatments.
Well there is another one being thrown into the mix. Helicobacter Pylori – or as Mum calls them, helicopters. She was actually diagnosed with this infection a few years ago, but it had been put on the backburner. However, it has reared its ugly head again, by interfering with her treatment plan.
So – what on earth is Helicobacter pylori? As you know, I am not a doctor, and have no medical training. However I do like to have an understanding of diagnoses and why certain treatments are being recommended by our health carers. The internet is such a marvellous tool, and though you do have to be careful of your sources, and sometimes take things with a grain of salt, you can learn quite a lot sitting in front of your computer.
I’ve tried to stick with genuine medical websites, and those that provide a consistent message. Here is my summary of these lovely little critters.
Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium (germ) that lives in the inner lining of the stomach. Due to the bacteria’s spiral shape and how they move, they are able to burrow into the stomach’s protective mucous lining. Once in there, they produce chemical substances that weaken that lining and make the stomach more susceptible to damage.
The damage caused by the bacteria causes inflammation of the stomach (gastritis), stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, and has even been proven to cause some stomach cancers.
The bacteria quite often don’t cause symptoms themselves, and some people will never display symptoms at all, but symptoms of the damage to the mucous lining and excess production of gastric acids can include:
- Gnawing of burning abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Black, tarry stools
It is still not known how the infection is spread, however once a person has become infected, it is persistent and can remain for life.
Treatment is available to eradicate the bacteria, generally through a strong course of a number of antibiotics. If this treatment is successful, the chance of recurrence is very low.
- Centre for Digestive Diseases
- Web MD
- North East Valley Division of General Practitioners
- Image from Wikipedia
When her GP diagnosed this infection, Mum was placed on the standard course of antibiotics, however the side-effects were so severe that she did not complete the course. Therefore, the infection is still present, and is now impacting on her other treatment. Natural treatments are available, and this is the path that we will be investigating next. As always, we’ll let you know how we go!