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Since I am positive for HP now, I thought I post some stuff about helicobacter.
First: 50% of people have HP, and HP messes up the digestive tract big time. It can be hard to detect, since some foods and medication makes for negative DNA tests.
Helicobacter can sit in your stomach, but also in your small intestine, especially after long term treatment with proton pump inhibitors and no antibiotic.
What do they do:
They eat what you eat, and as a thanks, they produce ammonia to overcome stomach acid production, drill into your gut lining to feast of yours truly, too, and lead to ulcers, inflammation and on the long term, cancer. Since they lower the stomach acid, they invite bugs, parasites and fungi in, they lead to bile salt deconjugation, meaning they decrease fatty acid digestion, they speed up transit time (undigested food in the gut, Ds, bloating, etc.. .
Main symptoms: nausea, heartburn, bloating, pressure in the chest, vomiting even. Later (once there is an ulcer) abdominal pain.
Due to the increasing antibiotic resistances they develop, researchers are testing vaccinations against those bugs, and it looks promising.
The tests are:
Stool DNA test (metametrix): can be false negative, but is very sensitive, and they test for antibiotic resistant genes, too
Stool Antigen test: can be false negative with low numbers, high parasites etc.
Blood antibody tests : very sensitive, but antibodies might be low if infection is fresh, or if infection is healed, since antibodies stick around for a few years
Urea breath test: best test available. You drink something, and if you breathe out the radioactive labeled urea, it was them. Best test to check if you got rid of them.
Gastroscopy and culture: gold standard, but if they sit somewhere else, no biopsies will pick them up. Hit and miss, honestly.
The standart therapy is a proton pump inhibitor like omeprazole for 4 weeks, and two antibiotics for 7 days. Research has shown that 10 days is much better and leads to less resistance and higher eradication rates, too.
If antibiotic resistance occurs, they have a second protocol with metronidazole (urgh), but a few papers suggest that it is much better to treat intermittent, meaning instead of taking the two antibiotics at the same time, take first one, and then the other. And include a bismuth salt during treatment, too.
Supplements that have proven to help:
Vitamin C at 5mg a day (probably to aid digestion without the stomach acid)
Lactoferrin 200mg (iron scavenger, works like iodoquinol or bismuth salt, I guess)
prebiotics (whatever you prefer, pectin, FOS (inulin), psyllium...
S boulardii and Lactobacillus acidophilus (LGG?) (help to protect the microbiome, and produce defensins to kick bacteria butts)
When taking all these addionally to the antibiotics, patients reported less adverse side effects of the medication, faster symptoms resolve and less nausea, even with metronidazole.
Funny enough, alcohol seems to aid the eradication too...alcohol kills bacteria, and red wine is rich in tannins...who knows.
Coffee, however, is a bad idea during treatment (*sob*)
Other claims (no scientific papers) to help with these bugs are:
ACV (probiotic yeast, once again)
Daily dose of broccoli (yum.)
Most cases of unsuccessful treatments are due to bad patient compliance, eg taking the meds irregularly and stopping them without telling the GP due to side effects.