Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopic or infantile eczema, is a complex skin disease that is characterized by pruritic inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis in older children and adults is often confused with psoriasis.
The condition occurs predominantly in infancy and childhood. The skin of a patient with atopic dermatitis reacts abnormally and easily to irritants, food, and environmental allergens and becomes red, flaky and very itchy.
The skin also becomes vulnerable to surface infections caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. The skin on inside of the elbows and knees is most commonly affected.
Atopic dermatitis often occurs together with other atopic diseases like hay fever, asthma and allergic conjunctivitis. It is a familial and chronic disease and its symptoms can increase or disappear over time.
It is believed that H pylori infection may cause or contribute to the development of atopic dermatitis by increasing the incidence of food allergy in children.
The mechanism for this is thought to involve damage to the mucosal barrier in the stomach and intestines, which allows relatively undigested food molecules and particles to leak into the bloodstream where the immune system reacts against them.
This phenomenon is commonly known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’.
The resulting immune reactions lead to inflammation which can manifest in many ways, one being inflammation of the skin.
A number of studies support these theories:
Corrado et al demonstrated a positive association between H pylori infection and food allergies in thirty children who were suffering with digestive symptoms.
Galadari et al reported that the incidence of H pylori in 20 atopic dermatitis patients was considerably higher than that of control subjects.
Murakami et al reported a case of atopic dermatitis and Helicobacter infection in a 14 year-old girl. The atopic dermatitis was completely healed with H pylori eradication and no specific treatment for the skin was necessary.
Other Possible Causes of Atopic Dermatitis
If we go with the theory that a damaged digestive lining – known as the mucosal barrier – leads to increased food allergy then we have to consider all the factors that damage the mucosal barrier.
This begins to take us down a more complex road because the list of irritants to the digestive lining is a long one. In my experience, the most common causes of a damaged mucosa are:
Now, when you begin to consider that ALL the above aspects can be controlled or “assessed and addressed” it becomes apparent that we have a lot of power to prevent symptoms that may be caused by the so-called ‘leaky-gut’ phenomenon.
If you’re suffering with skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, or any of the other inflammatory skin disorders discussed on this website, this information should bring you hope and I want to take the time to stress that it doesn’t matter how long you have had these conditions!
As long as you assess and address the root causes, you stand an excellent chance of overcoming the symptoms.
H Pylori & Dermatitis References
Corrado et al. Helicobacter pylori seropositivity in children with atopic dermatitis as sole manifestation of food allergy. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2000; 11: 101-5.
Corrado et al. Positive association between Helicobacter pylori infection and food allergy in children. Scand J Gastroenterol 1998; 33: 1135-9.
Murakami et al. atopic dermatitis successfully treated by eradication og Helicobacter pylori. J Gastroenterol 1996; 31 [Suppl 9]: 77-82.
Vera et al. Sucrose permeability in children with gastric damage and Helicobacter pylori infection. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1997; 24: 506-11.
Cohen, P. Staphylococcal infections in patients with atopic dermatitis. Arch Dermatol 1977; 113: 1383-6.