Which stomach virus cannot be treated

Inflammation of the gastric mucosa caused by Helicobacter bacteria

Frequency and route of infection

Helicobacter is common all over the world. Experts assume that around half of human beings carry the bacterium.

The pathogen is transmitted from person to person. How it is passed on - whether through saliva or stool - is still unclear. The infection is usually acquired in childhood through close contact within the family. The risk of infection is low in adulthood.

Signs and Consequences

A Helicobacter colonization of the stomach can lead to permanent inflammation of the gastric mucosa (gastritis) to lead. The bacteria also increase the production of gastric acid. This further damages the mucous membrane. Feeling full, pain in the upper abdomen or nausea can be signs, as can belching, loss of appetite and bad breath.

Often, however, those affected with Helicobacter gastritis have no symptoms.
1 to 2 in 10 people with persistent Helicobacter inflammation will develop an ulcer of the stomach or duodenum. It can lead to bleeding, in the worst case to a gastric or intestinal perforation. In very rare cases, stomach cancer can also be a result.

Investigations

There are several ways to detect Helicobacter. They differ somewhat in their accuracy, effort, and risks. Your doctor should work with you to decide which procedure is best for you. As a rule, Helicobacter is detected with the help of a gastroscopy: Here, a flexible tube is pushed through the esophagus into the stomach. Your doctor removes some stomach tissue with a pair of pliers, which is examined under a microscope. This will help him determine the severity of the inflammation and other changes. In around 1 in 1,000 people examined, the mirror can lead to complications, such as cardiovascular problems or bleeding. Helicobacter can also be detected from the breath or in the stool using special methods. Both of these examinations are risk-free.

Not every permanent inflammation of the gastric mucosa is due to Helicobacter. The use of certain pain relievers such as aspirin, diclofenac and ibuprofen can also be responsible.

treatment

Helicobacter bacteria are harmless to most people. Helicobacter gastritis that is discovered by chance and does not cause any problems therefore does not necessarily have to be treated. However, your doctor should offer you medication and explain the advantages and disadvantages.

The experts recommend treatment if Helicobacter is detected under certain circumstances, for example:

  • Ulcer of the stomach or duodenum

  • before long-term treatment with drugs that irritate the stomach, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, and previous gastrointestinal ulcers or bleeding

  • certain inflammation of the stomach lining

  • People at increased risk of stomach cancer

Helicobacter can be effectively treated with medication. Treatment consists of an acid blocker and two different antibiotics.

In addition, another antibiotic or the mineral can be used Bismuth can be added. The acid blocker inhibits the formation of acid in the stomach. This allows the mucous membrane to recover. Antibiotics and bismuth work against the bacteria. You will take these three or four medicines for 7 to 14 days.

Helicobacter bacteria are increasingly insensitive - resistant - against the antibiotics. A few weeks after the end of treatment, your doctor should therefore check whether the treatment was successful.

In 55 to 90 out of 100 people treated, Helicobacter can no longer be detected. If the bacterium is still found, other active ingredients should be combined with one another until the pathogen can no longer be detected.

The Helicobacter drugs cause temporary gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea in 10 to 25 out of 100 people treated. Your doctor should therefore carefully weigh up the benefits and harms of treatment with you.

What you can do yourself

  • Take the medication as directed by your doctor. It is important to take the medicines at regular intervals, in sufficient doses, and for long enough. Even if you are already feeling better, it is important to continue treatment as planned and not to stop taking medication prematurely.

  • Get a plan detailing how to take your medication. This will help you to keep a better overview of the many medicines.

  • Smoking also irritates the stomach lining. Therefore, try to quit smoking if necessary. This can also improve the success of the treatment.

October 2016, published by the German Medical Association and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians