It’s surprising that the most prevalent infection worldwide often goes undiagnosed in individuals with digestive issues. H. Pylori, a bacterium that resides in many of us, takes refuge in our stomachs, successfully evading our immune system while causing a range of signs and symptoms, including:

  • Belching
  • Post-meal pain
  • Early satiety
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Chronic iron deficiency
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Halitosis (bad breath)

It’s worth noting that the severity of symptoms does not necessarily correlate with the presence of H. Pylori. Even patients experiencing bloating and constipation have tested positive for the bacterium and found relief after treatment. Therefore, it is essential to get tested if you suspect an H. Pylori infection.

Exposure to H. Pylori is more likely if you:

  • Own cats or sheep
  • Have children who swim in rivers and lakes
  • Come into contact with a person who has an active infection, as it is contagious.
  • Living in the North is also a risk factor especially for Indigenous communities.

So, how can you determine if you have H. Pylori?

Blood testing lacks specificity in identifying an active infection. It cannot distinguish between fresh and old antibodies or confirm eradication of the bacterium. Breath testing is highly sensitive and can confirm eradication, but due to current circumstances (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), labs are not conducting breath sample tests. In the absence of breath tests, stool testing serves as a valuable alternative, offering high sensitivity and confirming eradication. This method is particularly useful when testing for other parasites simultaneously. Personally, I favor stool testing in these cases.

Retesting for H. Pylori is crucial, especially if you have had a previous infection. Many patients neglect retesting, perhaps due to the inconvenience or annoyance it may cause. However, it is important to understand the potential future implications for your health, including gastric cancer and malabsorption, especially if you are asymptomatic after treatment. Without testing and retesting, it is impossible to have confidence or certainty regarding eradication. H. Pylori is adept at evading our immune system, much like shingles or cold sores, but without any visible external manifestations. It is stealthy in that regard.

Conversely, some patients desire even more information, such as whether they carry virulent strains of H. Pylori that can lead to ulcers and cancer. While it is possible to test for these strains, the cost often becomes prohibitive for many individuals.

When it comes to treatment, antibiotics are the only evidenced method to eradicate H. Pylori. Typically, a quad therapy is recommended. However, it is crucial to avoid antibiotics you have taken before, as certain drugs have developed resistance. Consequently, there are multiple combination regimens available to combat this resistance.

While antibiotics are the proven method for complete eradication, there are additional measures patients can take to support the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy. Please note that the following suggestions are not medical advice, but rather ideas you can discuss with your doctor to determine if they are appropriate for you:

  • Follow a low-salt diet (less than 2 grams per day) since salt exacerbates and promotes the growth of H. Pylori.
  • Incorporate broccoli sprouts into your diet, as they have been found to suppress H. Pylori (70 grams per day).
  • Avoid caffeine, mint, chocolate, alcohol, tomatoes, and spicy foods, as they can increase stomach pressure and exacerbate symptoms.
  • Consider taking 5 drops of oil of oregano twice per day as a natural antibiotic assistant.
  • Supplement with 5 grams
  • Vitamin C 5 grams per day
  • S boulardii probiotic 5 billion twice per day
  • Lacto and Bifido probiotic blend high potency
  • Cabbage juicing or cabbage juice supplements daily
  • Bismuth 500 mg four times per day for 2 weeks unless constipated.

Herbal Tincture composed of:

  • Berberis vulgaris
  • Zingiber officinale
  • Curcuma longa
  • Glycyrrhiza glabra

Things to not be doing:

Hydrocholoric Acid (HCL) supplementation because acid suppression helps eradicate the bugs. A lot of people take acid thinking they need it because H. Pylori reduces stomach acid. The opposite is true. Higher pH is worse for H. Pylori, not lower.

If you have digestive symptoms and have the risk factors, don’t forget about this bug. It’s everywhere and needs to be ruled out.

If you need any additional advice on how to diagnose or how to treat H. Pylori consult a naturopathic doctor at Gravity Health.