The connection between H. Pylori and ulcers: The discovery of the link between Helicobacter Pylori (Commonly referred as H. Pylori) bacterium and stomach ulcers earned Dr. Barry Marshall Nobel Price in 2005. It took the medical community over 20 years to recognize Dr. Marshall’s contribution to science.
It was 1982, Dr. Marshall, an Australian internist, suspected that many of his patients’ ulcers were cause by a common bacterium called H. Pylori. The prevailing believe at the time was that bacteria cannot exist in the stomach because the high acidity of the stomach fluid. However in case after case Dr. Marshall discovered that majority of his patients that had ulcers were also infected with H. Pylori. Dr. Marshall discovered in the laboratory with bismuth (the active ingredient in Pepto Bismo) is effective in killing the bacteria. He began to treat his patients for treating ulcers. However, although the bismuth was effective in killing the bacteria in the laboratory, it is not effective for curing ulcers in his patients. Except in one patient...
Upon closer examination, Dr. Marshall discovered that the patient suffered from gum disease was taking antibiotic to treat the condition while he was also taking the bismuth for his ulcer. Could it be the combined action of the bismuth and antibiotic together cured the patient’s ulcer? Dr. Marshall began to treat the rest of his patients with this regimen. Sure enough, this regimen cured many of his patients’ ulcers! Excited Dr. Marshall attended presented his findings in the specialist conference, only was met with skepticism. The gastroenterology community refused to accept Dr. Marshall's discovery.
Today little is changed in regards to the treatment of H.Pylori. The standard treatment is non-treatment. The standard treatment is give sufferers antacid.
H.Pylori is widely spread. It is estimated that 40% of the population in western countries and 70% of the population in developing world are affected by H.Pylori. The WTO classified H.Pylori as a carcinogen and recommend eradication treatment. With tests so readily accessible and treatment so cheap, why isn't this diseases actively treated? Since 90% of all ulcers are caused by H. Pylori, one would wonder why we were told to use over-the-counter drugs to treat the symptom? The answer might not be what you expect. The antacid industry is a multi billion dollar industry, they stand to make a lot more money keeping people on the antacid drugs. H. Pylori can be eradicated, although the treatment is not an easy one. The standard treatment is the triple therapy, taking 10-14 days, which consists of two antibiotics plus an acid reducing drug to make the antibiotics work more efficiently. IMO anyone with frequent stomach related problems should take a test to see if you are positive for H. Pylori. It can be done with a simple C14 breath test. It is said that there are natural remedies that will eradicate h. pylori, although mostly based on anecdote evidence. Because nobody would fund studies that will make no money. Some of the natural remedies include Naturals Mastic Gum, which is commonly used in the Mediterranean cooking for desserts. Incidentally, people who frequently consume mastic gum rarely get ulcer. Also Manuka Honey from New Zealand is also said to be effective against h. pylori.