H. pylori infection is now recognised as the causal agent of chronic gastritis and gastric or duodenal ulcers. It infects the stomachs of around 60% of the world’s adult population, with prevalence reaching 95% in many developing countries.
Globally, stomach cancer is the second most common type of cancer with the Japanese and Koreans suffering the highest incidence rates.
Eating raw food and drinking contaminated water are the common ways Malaysians contract H. pylori, which is also found in the saliva and hence, may spread through mouth-to-mouth contact.
However, not every infected person develops ulcers. Our immune system can be a major deciding factor.
What is the common cause of Helicobacter Pylori
- Heartburn (acid reflux)
- Bloating, constipation, and flatulence since this bacterium interferes with our stomach acid levels
- Feeling nauseous after a meal
- Gum disease and halitosis (bad breath) since the bacterium also live in the mouth and dental cavities
- Muscle loss and/or weight gain because the bacterium can adversely affect production of stomach acid needed to digest proteins and fats
- Pain from inflamed or damaged stomach wall (ulcers)
The presence of H. pylori can be confirmed by doing a breath test, blood antibody tests and/or stool antigen test. More sophisticated examination includes the urea-breath test as well as the endoscopic biopsy which is used in more serious cases. Earlier detection is better than cure.