Half of the world’s population has Helicobacter Pylori (H Pylori) infection and 8 out of 10 people have no related symptoms. H Pylori is a bacterial infection in the intestines and is commonly detected with a blood test. H Pylori can cause inflammation, gastritis, and ulcers. If symptoms were to occur, one would have abdominal pain and nausea. This infection can be treated by antibiotics or anti-acids.
In 1984 a scientist by the name of Barry Marshall infected himself to prove that the H Pylori bacteria was the cause of ulcers when other doctors believed it was a result of stress. H Pylori feeds off of a form of oxygen that is produced by intestinal bacteria and can disrupt the immune system. The H is abbreviated for Helicobacter, which means spiral-shaped bacteria and is able to live in the harsh environment of the stomach by traveling through the stomach lining to find less acidic sites to live. Stomach acid is harmful to the rest of the body and is protected by stomach lining and mucus. When the bacteria go out of the stomach lining it allows acid to travel through other parts of the body. H Pylori has adapted to survive over the years by changing the PH level of the stomach by producing ammonia which can cause gastritis; inflammation or swelling of the stomach lining. Substances are produced by the body to compensate for the lower acidity levels and this can cause peptic ulcers for which is thought to cause other stomach problems. An ulcer is a sore in the lining in the stomach and its symptoms are abdominal pain, nausea, bad breath, and vomiting.
One way H Pylori is thought to be transmitted is through contaminated water and food. Developing countries have a higher rate of infection, but H Pylori can be treated with antibiotics, such as amoxicillin or tetracycline as well as either a proton pump inhibitor like omeprazole, which suppresses stomach acid.