How Do I Know I Have H.pylori Infection?

Greetings. New Zealand naturopath, Eric Bakker, author of Candida Crusher. Thanks for joining me again in another video in our helicobacter pylori series. I’m going to be talking about the signs and symptoms of an HP infection, so I’ve got my laptop open here. I’m looking at my ericbakker.com website. I’ve got an article on there called “Heartburn,” which is all about H. pylori, that is one of the chief symptoms.

An interesting thing about helicobacter is it doesn’t produce exactly the same symptomatology in every single patient. Some people develop gastric ulceration, duodenal or gastric ulcers. The duodenal ulcer is further down the stomach. The gastric ulcer is a bit higher up.

Dr. Robin Warren, the chief pathologist who did a huge amount of research on helicobacter in the early days, believed that 10 to 15 percent of all people who get HP infections will go onto to develop ulcerations. Think about that for a minute, 10 to 15 percent; 10 to 15 percent is a lot when you think about how many millions of people in the US are infected and other countries with this particular bug.

If you think that the drug called Nexium, the acid blocker, in 2014 sold $6.4 billion US dollars. It makes me wonder how many of those billions of dollars have actually been treating people with helicobacter. They shouldn’t have been on this blasted drug in the first place.

The signs and symptoms are varied. It depends if the bacteria are stimulating overproduction and in some cases for reasons we don’t really understand, can actually switch off production. The patient can develop achlorhydria or an absence of stomach acid. In other people, it could just mess the whole lot up. So it can either over produce or under produce or mess up your digestion. And that’s why the symptoms can be varied from patient to patient.

I’m going to read out a list of the typical signs and symptoms of a helicobacter pylori infection. Nausea or queasiness, low grade feeling of queasiness, feeling a little bit sick. Some patients can really get sick and actually vomit at times or vomit for no reason at all, which is an unusual thing but it can be linked to it. Avoidance of chili, garlic, or specific foods that does not agree with your tummy. It could be Uncle Fred coming over or grandpa that says, “I can’t eat them potatoes. Every time I eat those potatoes, I feel sick. I don’t like garlic. Every time I have a piece of garlic, I feel like crap. I’m burping and I’m sick and everything.” If the person feels ill quite quickly after eating a certain food, it may be a problem with helicobacter pylori.

Bloating worse after meals. Feeling worse after meals or certain kinds of foods. Recurring abdominal pain, intestinal cramps, that’s a big one. This pain of helicobacter can make you think that you’re having a heart attack. If you think where the stomach is and where the heart is, they’re very close together. Many people, in fact, who do end up in the emergency room or get the ambulance are having indigestion. All could have a serious HP attack rather than a heart attack. It can be quite a sharp pain. You can actually think you’re dying sometimes. The pain can be that intense. I’ve had many patients over the years tell me they ended up in the emergency ward and the doctor said, “You’ve got heartburn. Go home. Take this antacid. You’ll be fine. There’s nothing wrong with your heart. We checked your blood out, did an EKG, everything is clear. Just go home.”

Peptic or duodenal ulcers, which we’ve spoken about already in this series. Over 90 percent of all cases of peptic and duodenal ulcers are caused by helicobacter pylori. In rare cases, you can actually have a small tumor in the stomach producing acid, but those are really rare cases. Burping, which can be pretty bad. You might have a relation that’s got actually a reputation for burping. Some people can burp the alphabet. I think I actually saw that in one of those Guinness records. If the burping is excessive and really over the top, it could well be helicobacter. Remember what we said. It can produce an over acidity and also under acidity, so food can sit there like a rock. It’s not being digested properly. You can feel like you swallowed a brick. It can be sitting in there.

Heartburn. Maybe reliant on Gaviscon or Losec or Tums or some kind of antacid drink or pill. If the person has always got a pack of candy, sweets or something in their pocket, pop in their mouth because of heartburn, this is the sort of patient I’m looking for that has probably got helicobacter. The person always wants mints. I had a friend like that. Always wanted to buy mints all the time because it made him feel better. Didn’t know why, but he felt better. Those are the sort of key things I look for.

Diarrhea or constipation after several years of infection. Well, is it any wonder? If the stomach is going to play out sooner or later, what happens downstream is going to be all affected as well. It’s no wonder why.

Disturbed sleep. Maybe waking up with a hollow feeling or heartburn. These people can sometimes wake up really early in the morning being really hungry and having to eat food. I’ve also found at times that some patients have got issues with their position, so they feel better semi-reclining or they feel better in those chairs. They’ve got the foot rest that goes up. They feel way better like that. Other people feel better propped up. Some people have a couple of bricks under the head of the bed to prop the bed up a little bit. Other people don’t have that at all. As soon as I hear people talking about this position or problem with gastric discomfort, helicobacter. When you think about it, if the stomach, if you’ve got acid in here and it’s moving around a bit, it could affect the symptoms of that person quite a lot.

Here’s an interesting one that many people don’t think about, vitamin B-12 deficiency. If you’ve had a problem with your stomach for a long time, there may be an issue with what we call the parietal cells. These are cells that produce a hormone called “intrinsic factor.” That binds to vitamin B-12, which is found chiefly in animal sources. Intrinsic factor binds the B-12. It’s produced by this particular cell, or parietal cell. It goes down the small intestine and there’s a small area there that it gets absorbed. If the stomach is playing up, not working properly, there is a chance that the B-12 is not really efficiently being utilized with the intrinsic factor. I always recommend people with a stomach problem of long duration to always get vitamin B-12 checked.

People with helicobacter, I’ve spoken with some specialists on my trips to Australia at some of these big conferences, say they’ve even seen it linked with serious depression and anxiety disorder. If you’ve got no B-12 in the body and it’s never checked, you can have serious anxiety disorder and major depression if the stomach is playing out. Of course, your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist thinking you’re nuts. Get your B-12 checked because B-12 is important for another chemical reaction we call “methylation,” which we haven’t got time to go into today. Just check out methylation.

Altered appetite. Sometimes you feel like eating. Sometimes you don’t feel like eating. After being infected for many years, you may have developed deficiencies that can lead to a whole lot of health problems. If the stomach is not working efficiently, how the hell can you ever breakdown and absorb and utilize the nutrition from your diet. I don’t care how good your diet is. I don’t care how biodynamic it is or how GM free or how perfect it’s grown. If the stomach is not working efficiently, you’re completely wasting your time with the best foods. You need to have a stomach in very good condition to utilize the nutrition properly. Give it to the end target, to all cells in the body.

Helicobacter is implicated in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. There is actually a link there with Hashimoto’s patients and H. pylori. If you have got Hashimoto’s and you’re watching this, I think it may pay for you to do a fecal stool test and maybe a serum antigen test just to make sure you haven’t got HP.

Forty percent of migraine headaches offers a positive with HP and eradication subsides the headaches in a lot of cases. If you suffer from recurrent migraines, get checked for helicobacter.

Acne rosacea. I don’t know how many patients I’ve seen with acne rosacea over the years. Helicobacter pylori is suspected of causing acne rosacea, and eradication of HP often results in a significant reduction of these symptoms.

Have a think about those signs and symptoms. But the key ones are burping, heartburn, tired, fatigue, not feeling well, funny diet or what we call a dodgy diet or strange like some foods you can’t tolerate, some foods you can or if people find you a fussy eater or a finicky eater. Look carefully for these in children as well, especially if children don’t like foods or argue with you they can’t eat this or they can’t eat that. They may have a problem. In Europe, this problem is so big that the European Helicobacter Foundation has actually set up a whole institution just to study this in children, so bad is the problem. Countries like Spain, Portugal, they’ve got a major problem with HP.

Think about those signs and symptoms. If you’re unsure about them, check with your health care professional. Thanks for tuning in.

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