Helicobacter pylori: The germ that strikes the stomach

Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the second most common infectious disease after caries. 33 million Germans and every second over 50-year-old lives with the dangerous lodger in the stomach. Belching, feeling of fullness, pain or nausea are the indications that the stomach germ in the body is up to mischief. Gastritis, ulcers in the stomach and duodenum or stomach cancer can be his work.

Symptoms of Helicobacter pylori

The following Helicobacter symptoms are an indication of the presence of the gastric germ:

  • Pain or pressure in the upper abdomen
  • constant feeling of fullness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
  • Fasting pain: The symptoms subsided briefly during or after a meal
  • Pain in the night that makes you wake up
  • Anemia and black stool

If these symptoms cause problems for more than one to two weeks, a doctor should be consulted.

Causes of the stomach germ

Today, experts know that the bacterium usually infiltrates into the stomach during childhood and is transmitted from person to person. In our latitudes, the germ is believed to be transmitted mainly by word-of-mouth (orally-orally), for example from an infected mother to her child.

The danger that an infected person infects another in adulthood tends to zero. Presumably, this is related to the fact that, at a certain age, the immune system can offer the germs a dent.

In developing countries with a low hygienic standard, it is also likely that the bacterium is transmitted via the stool (faecal-oral).

The risk of becoming infected with Helicobacter pylori can be reduced by appropriate hygiene measures. For example, studies have shown that, for example, "indoor toilets" with sinks for subsequent hand washing can significantly reduce the infection rate.

Gastritis as a result of Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacter pylori behaves inconspicuously for years without the patient being aware of it. But at some point he draws attention to himself. With its thread-like flagella it is extremely mobile and spreads over the entire stomach lining. He hides in the mucus layer of the stomach wall and attaches itself to epithelial cells there.

In the long run, the cells of the gastric mucosa become irritated, they become inflamed; Gastritis, which sometimes smolders without discomfort in the stomach, is the result.

But often then comes to light, which brood for a long time in secret. The stomach then rebels with pain, bloating and nausea.

From germ to cancer

In turn, gastritis can often pave the way for a variety of other illnesses, especially when factors such as genetic predisposition, smoking or certain medications are added.

Approximately 95 percent of all duodenal ulcers and 70 to 80 percent of all gastric ulcers are the work of H. pylori. He is also in urgent suspicion, malignant diseases such as stomach cancer to favor or even trigger. The World Health Organization (WHO) has therefore classified the germ as a carcinogen.

However, there are patients who, despite their roommate, do not suffer from any discomfort in the stomach and only learn about it when the gastrointestinal tract is examined for other reasons. And not everyone infected with Helicobacter pylori gets an ulcer. However, the risk of such an ulcer is significantly increased in the case of an infection with Helicobacter pylori.

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