H pylori infection is, of course, known as the bug that causes heartburn, stomach ulcers and other unpleasant digestive symptoms. However when we delve into the scientific and medical literature, we see that this common infection can cause a plethora of symptoms outside the gut.
H pylori infection causes an inflammatory reaction in the stomach and intestine. This inflammatory reaction can spill over into other areas of the body, triggering symptoms in potentially any or every area of the body, including the neurological system.
In 2004, a team of researchers from Parma, Italy, conducted a study with 80 patients affected by migraine. Of these 80 patients, 26 were diagnosed with H pylori using the urea breath test. These 26 patients received standard H pylori treatment (triple therapy). 23 of the patients were successfully treated.
The duration and severity of migraine attacks were then recorded using validated questionnaires for one year following treatment. The following results were reported:
The mean migraine duration dropped from 251.4 hours at baseline to 181.4 hours at 6 months after treatment and 171.6 hours at 12 months after H pylori eradication.
The researchers reached the following conclusion:
“H pylori eradication improves both duration and severity of migraine attacks. Resolution of gastric inflammation could reduce substances involved in cerebral vasospasm.”
De Bastiani, R. et al. Improvement of Migraine After H pylori Eradication. Helicobacter. 2004. Abstract no: 08.15.
As discussed at the start of this article, it is the process of ongoing inflammation in the stomach (known as gastric inflammation) that is the problem. This inflammation leads to the production of chemicals called inflammatory cytokines, which scientists believe can circulate round the body and trigger other symptoms.
Cerebral vasospasm is a fancy term for circulatory problems in the brain, which may trigger migraine. Researchers in the above study suggest that the inflammatory chemicals caused by H pylori may trigger the circulatory problems.
In addition to migraine, H pylori infection has been associated with many inflammatory or “pain” disorders around the body. These include:
Having focused on H pylori for more than a half decade, I am always amazed at some of the seemingly unrelated symptoms that dissolve away when H pylori is eradicated. I truly believe H pylori as well as foods and other bad bugs that irritate the gut, causing inflammation, are responsible for a vast number of common symptoms.
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Ever since I was diagnosed with H pylori in 2007 – having eradicated it using diet changes, herbs and nutritional supplements – it has been my mission to help people like you around the world understand and overcome health challenges using an integrated health approach. Where possible we work closely with the medical profession to combine the best of conventional medicine with our cutting edge clinical nutrition and functional medicine techniques. It is our hope that we can help you achieve your health related goals.