Progressive systemic sclerosis (PSS) is a disease that can affect many areas of the body. It is characterized by the deposition of excessive amounts of connective tissue in the skin and internal organs as well as immune abnormalities. The cause of PSS, like many other similar conditions is unclear.
Many environmental triggers may lead to the development of PSS and the genetic predisposition of each individual person may determine whether these environmental influences lead to the development of the disease.
It has long been suspected that infections – both bacterial and viral – may act as triggers for PSS. In some patients, antibiotic treatment relieves many of the symptoms of PSS.
H pylori infection has recently received quite a lot of attention with regard to the development of PSS.
One study reported that the incidence of H pylori infection in PSS patients was significantly higher than in controls. However other studies have not reported these differences.
It may be that not all H pylori strains create the same responses in patients. For example, a further study revealed that 90% of PSS patients were infected by the CagA strain of H pylori. This particular strain seems to correlate with many different disease progressions, including heart disease and stomach cancer.
Unfortunately there is a scarcity of information in the literature in this area, but because H pylori infection has the ability to trigger a whole-body, or systemic inflammatory response, its role in diseases such as PSS cannot be discounted and the role of CagA strains should be investigated further.
As I have explained in many articles on this website, H pylori is one of multiple environmental triggers that may lead to a cascade of events within the body that ultimately lead to inflammatory and immune-mediated conditions.
So I’d recommend that if you have any skin disease or autoimmune condition, you seek advice on how to assess for all these possible triggers. Tools are available to you to assess for digestive infections, toxicity, food and chemical sensitivity and it is these analyses that will help you uncover the reason why your condition developed.
H Pylori & Progressive Systemic Sclerosis References
Ebert et al. Gastric and enteric involvement in progressive systemic sclerosis. J Clin Gastroenterol 2008; 42: 5-12.
Hamandzic et al. The role of infectious agents in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis. Curr Opin Rheumatol 2002; 14: 694-8.
Danese et al. High prevalence of Helicobacter pylori type I virulent strains in patients with systemic sclerosis. J Rheumatol 2000; 27: 1568-9.