When I was diagnosed with an H pylori infection back in 2007, I finally discovered one of the key root causes of my numerous, nagging symptoms:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Low libido
I couldn’t have known the impact it would have on my life: almost six years later, I’ve written two books on the dangers of H pylori infection and coached more than a thousand clients from many different countries on how to successfully overcome H pylori using natural programs.
Symptoms of H Pylori Infection
H pylori infection is known by most doctors to cause stomach ulcers but in my experience, docs’ are a little blindfolded in this important area of health. Common symptoms experienced during H pylori infection include:
- Heartburn and acid reflux (known as dyspepsia)
- Stomach pain
- “Gnawing” sensation in the chest
- Belching and burping
- Vomiting (especially in the morning)
Unfortunately, dyspepsia, stomach pain and burning tend to be treated by acid-blocking drugs. Proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole, pantoprazole, lanzoprazole tend to be prescribed and, unfortunately, do not address the root cause of the problem. When dyspepsia is present, H pylori infection should always be considered. Ignoring possible H pylori infection is dangerous for reasons explained below.
Burping, belching and nausea may lead a doctor to suspect H pylori infection but again, these symptoms are so common that many people just think they are part of “normal” life. If folk are suffering with morning vomiting (like I was) docs may suspect ulcers or H pylori, especially if the vomit contains coffee-like granules, which may indicate a bleeding ulcer.
Any symptoms that suggest a bleeding ulcer – serious stomach pain, dark, tarry stool, or coffee-like grains/blood in vomit – are medical emergencies and should be treated as such.
Hidden Symptoms of H Pylori Infection
H pylori infections can cause many other symptoms, some of which may develop outside the digestive system. This presents a problem for both patients and doctors: why would a stomach infection be associated with any of the following?
- Fatigue and low energy levels
- Irritable bowels
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle aches and pains
- Skin conditions such as rosacea
- Sleep problems
- Weight loss or weight gain
My books,and H Pylori: From Heartburn to Heart Disease go into the reasons why H pylori infection causes symptoms in any and every part of the body. To cut a long story short, H pylori infection causes inflammation in the stomach and small intestine. This inflammation can spread around the body, much like a fire spreading around a house, damaging tissues and organs as it spreads.
The thyroid gland, liver, blood vessels, brain and any other tissue/organ can be affected and when this happens, it’s possible for H pylori to cause lots of symptoms that are seemingly unrelated to the stomach.
Furthermore, H pylori infection causes stomach acid levels to decrease as a result of damage to the stomach lining. When stomach acid decreases, it’s harder to digest food and absorb nutrients. It is well known among the scientific community that H pylori infection can lead to iron deficiency ad vitamin B12 deficiency, folic acid deficiency. Additional research has suggested that H pylori infection may influence levels of vitamins A, C and E, as well as several other minerals.
Depletion of one ore multiple nutrients can cause a plethora of symptoms. Vitamin B12 deficiency alone causes a multitude of neurological symptoms, not to mention increasing the risk of heart disease.
Over the last half-decade, I’ve seen energy levels improve, depression lift, sleep improve, skin clear-up, digestion normalize and even vision and hearing improve when my clients have successfully treated their H pylori infections. Symptomatic improvements care often quite remarkable.
H Pylori Infections Can Cause Serious Diseases
H pylori infection is the number one risk factor for stomach cancer. H pylori itself is classified by the World Health Organization as a class I carcinogen, putting it in the same category as asbestos and cigarette smoking for lung cancer. It is believed that 1-3% of H pylori infections lead to stomach cancers.
This may not seem like a high percentage but when you consider that 50% of the world’s population is infected even a small percentage translates into a very large number of people in real terms.
I researched the relationship between H pylori infection and heart disease in great detail during the second half of 2012 and was astonished to learn that H pylori is not only associated with cardiovascular disease, but also with many of risk factors used by doctors to predict the likelihood of future heart disease.
Meta-analyses, where data from many studies are pooled and run through computer/statistical analysis programs clearly reveal that people with heart disease have higher H pylori infection rates than those without heart disease.
When relationships between H pylori infection and cardiovascular disease risk factors are analyzed, we learn see some very interesting patterns. H pylori clearly influences:
- Blood pressure (eradication of H pylori seems to improve blood pressure).
- Insulin resistance (H pylori infection causes insulin resistance, which reduces when the infection is eradicated).
- Metabolic syndrome (metabolic syndrome markers improve when H pylori infection is successfully treated).
- Cholesterol patterns (H pylori infection increases “bad” LDL, oxidized LDL and decreases “good” HDL).
- Fetuin-A (levels decrease upon H pylori eradication).
- Microalbuminaria (levels decrease upon H pylori eradication).
- Oxidative stress (folk infected with H pylori have higher levels of oxidative stress, which underpins the development of many diseases).
- Antioxidant status (H pylori infection tends to reduce antioxidant capacity – vitamins A, C, E and glutathione).
- Inflammation, including C-reactive protein, IL-6 and TNF-alpha (these heart disease risk factors tend to be higher during H pylori infection and decrease upon successful treatment).
- Homocysteine (levels increase due to H pylori-induced vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency).
One of the trickiest aspects to consider is the fact that the likes of insulin resistance, CRP, homocysteine and oxidative stress can creep up insidiously, without any symptoms being experienced whatsoever. In other words, in some people H pylori infection secretly causes metabolic changes that lead to disease without patients realizing the infection is there at all.
There is no question that H pylori infection influences heart disease. Unfortunately this fact is not well-recognized by doctors and I highly recommend you read my H Pylori: From Heartburn to Heart Disease book to learn more about this topic.
Testing for H Pylori Infections
I personally believe that doctors should test for H pylori when any of the common symptoms are present. Symptoms such as heartburn should not simply be treated with acid-blocking drugs.
Because H pylori infections are so widespread and because they clearly cause disease (especially heart disease) as well as all those unpleasant common symptoms, I would go as far as saying that testing should almost be mandatory.
If you would like to explore H pylori Testing in more detail, I encourage you to learn about the Comprehensive Digestive MOT service offered through my organization.for more details.
Treating H Pylori Infections
It is now well known in the research community that standard medical H pylori treatment is not as effective as it used to be. Whereas treatment success was at one time as high as 80-90%, it is now only around 70%. Treatment efficacy in some studies has been shown to be as low as 54%. The decline in treatment success is largely due to H pylori developing antibiotic resistance.
Because of the decline in treatment success, standard triple therapy may be replaced by quadruple therapy or sequential therapy, but even these strategies are only 80% effective or less in many settings. Medical drugs also cause various side effects in some people, which can make it difficult to complete the treatment. Nevertheless, they do work well for many people.
Since overcoming my own H pylori infection using an entirely natural approach, I’ve been able to help literally thousands of people achieve the same success either using the basic program in, or through the Digestive Health MOT and Hompes Method Personalized Health Coaching process.
I believe one of the reasons my program has been successful is that whilst H pylori infection causes many symptoms, it is often a scapegoat. H pylori is not the only cause of digestive symptoms. Food intolerances and other chronic digestive infections can cause the same symptoms as H pylori. Unfortunately, if H pylori happens to be detected, it tends to be blamed for everything.
Because my programs address food intake, other chronic digestive infections, yeast and fungal overgrowth and overall digestive health, we are able to achieve success where the medical approach has struggled.
If you are having a hard time with your digestive symptoms, or if you have struggled to overcome H pylori, we would welcome the opportunity to help you.