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H Pylori Diseases – the “Dark Side” of Helicobacter pylori

H Pylori Diseases – The Dark Side of H Pylori

Erm, this article isn’t really full of the joys of spring.

It’s concerned with some of the nastier H pylori diseases like ulcers, stomach cancer and heart disease that often aren’t explained properly (you certainly won’t see this information on regular medical websites).

The info isn’t meant to frighten you, and it’s certainly NOT designed to try and coerce you into buying something from me out of fear (I HATE that stuff).

So please don’t shoot the messenger.

BUT, when you learn this information you realise how important it is to take H pylori infections seriously.

I don’t enjoy talking or writing about serious H pylori diseases – I call these diseases the ‘Dark Side’ of H pylori – but someone has to do it.

It’s rare for doctors to know this information, and even rarer for them to explain the situation to you because of short appointment times and overload in the medical system.

First, I’d like you watch this short video on H pylori diseases, and beneath the video I’ve written some summary points for you, which highlight research into various H pylori diseases.

I hope the video was helpful (you’re very welcome to leave a comment below if there’s anything I can do to improve the presentation!)

Let’s summarize the most important info about H pylori diseases:

H pylori and Ulcers:

  • H pylori is known to cause stomach (peptic) and intestinal (duodenal) ulcers
  • Statistically, it’s estimated that H pylori causes 80% stomach and 90% duodenal ulcers
  • CagA and VacA H pylori strains seem particularly good at causing ulcers
  • As well as being extremely painful and uncomfortable, ulcers can be dangerous if left untreated
  • Ulcers can bleed and perforate, increasing the risk of sepsis
  • See your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • frequent vomiting (especially if it contains blood, or coffee-like grains)
    • severe stomach burning
    • severe nausea
    • urgent or sharp stomach/chest pain
    • black tarry stools
    • diarrhoea for more than a few days
    • tightness of chest/difficulty breathing

H pylori causes Gastritis (swelling and inflammation in the stomach)

  • Gastritis can be acute (short term) or chronic (long term)
  • Gastritis is redness, swelling, pain and damage in the stomach
  • Gastritis can result in heartburn, GERD-like symptoms, pain and other digestive problems
  • Severe gastritis can lead to bleeding and sepsis (infection getting into the blood)
  • Ulcers may develop as a result of gastritis
  • Gastritis is also caused by some common foods like cow’s milk, gluten and alcohol
  • Smoking and the use of NSAIDs like aspirin may lead to gastritis
  • Over a period of several years gastritis may develop into atrophic gastritis (below)

H pylori and Atrophic Gastritis:

  • Atrophic gastritis is where the stomach lining is worn down, leading to low stomach acid levels, poor food digestion and nutrient deficiencies
  • Atrophic gastritis is a major risk factor for stomach cancer
  • Low stomach acid caused by atrophic gastritis can lead to iron deficiency anaemia, vitamin B12 deficiency and other nutrient deficiencies
  • These deficiencies can cause fatigue, weakness, depression, lethargy, neurological problems, headaches and serious illness
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can develop as a result of low stomach acid and cause bloating and irritable bowel syndrome
  • Please, please, please don’t let it happen to you – get yourself properly tested!

H pylori and Stomach Cancer:

  • Stomach cancer is a possible outcome of H pylori infection
  • Stomach cancer doesn’t occur in many people – well under 1% of people who have H pylori
  • The risk is higher if you have the CagA or VacA H pylori strain (this can be assessed through advanced home stool tests)
  • It’s unclear exactly how H pylori causes cancer – several mechanisms have been proposed

H pylori and High Blood Pressure:

  • Research shows that blood pressure can decrease from an excessively high level when H pylori is eradicated
  • The implication is that H pylori may cause high blood pressure in some people
  • The CagA and VacA H pylori strains seem to be the main players

H pylori, Blood Sugar Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes:

  • Research suggests that H pylori can lead to these metabolic problems
  • H pylori eradication improves blood glucose and insulin scores in some folk
  • Through several metabolic changes, H pylori appears to increase type II diabetes risk
  • H pylori changes cholesterol patterns in some people
    • H pylori infection can increase total cholesterol
    • H pylori infection can increase LDL cholesterol
    • H pylori infection can increase oxidised LDL cholesterol

H pylori and Atherosclerosis:

  • Atherosclerosis is the gradual process (or rapid process in some people) that leads to plaque formation and narrowing of the arteries.
  • H pylori seems to increase atherosclerosis development and severity
  • CagA H pylori strains seem to be most problematic

H pylori, Heart Disease and Stroke:

  • Evidence suggest that the CagA H pylori strain influences heart disease
  • It increases seems to incidence of angina pectoris
  • It may increase the incidence of heart attacks
  • It may increase the incidence of stroke!

Mechanisms of H pylori Diseases:

H pylori can reduce stomach acid and this can lead to iron deficiency, vitamin B12, E, C deficiencies, which increase the risk of disease via numerous pathways.

It causes inflammation in the digestive system, which can lead to increased levels of things like C-reactive protein and fibrinogen in your blood, which in turn are heart disease risk markers.

In fact, in my book H pylori: From Heartburn to Heart Attacks, I show with lots of research papers how H pylori infections influence more than HALF the known heart disease risk factors.

What this means for you:

I didn’t write this post to scare you – I just want you to be aware of some H pylori diseases you may not have been aware of.

Of course, H pylori is best known for causing a few mild symptoms – sometimes a little more severe – such as heartburn, GERD, dizziness and so on.

BUT, it CAN cause other problems – “H pylori diseases” as I call them.

I’m certainly not saying H pylori causes these diseases in everyone, and I’m not saying H pylori is the only cause of these diseases, because it’s not.

What I want is for you to be aware of the main complications that can lead to these H pylori diseases so you can AVOID them!

How to test for H pylori:

To ensure H pylori doesn’t cause any of the above complications, please get your self tested.

If your doctor is not willing to test for H pylori, that’s ok, but don’t take “no” for an answer.

Nag, nag and nag until you get a stool test or breath test.

If your test returns a negative result and you’re not satisfied, get a private stool test (by the way, false negative tests do happen, and fairly frequently in my experience).

If you still don’t have any luck, consider a home stool test.

A home stool test can actually tell you whether you have the CagA or VacA H pylori strains – the ones associated with the more serious conditions listed here.

It also tells you whether the strain you have is resistant to Clarithromycin, one of the most important antibiotics used in H pylori triple therapy.

How to beat H pylori:

If you know for sure you have H pylori, get it treated.

If your doctor’s treatment doesn’t work, there are other options.

Start with the protocols in my book, The H Pylori Diet.

Be persistent: some people eradicate H pylori quickly, but other people need more time.

For example, some people might need 30-days on herbs, and some may need 60-90 days.

Some people need more courses of antibiotics than others (this is a bit of a problem because the more antibiotics you use, the more problems you might run into – Candida overgrowth, SIBO, antibiotic resistance, etc.)

It’s Your Turn:

Are you concerned about possible H pylori complications?

If so, we’d love to hear from you.

What not leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to get back to you quickly!



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