Ulcers and cancer risk: what you need to know
Ulcers are very common and are treated with straightforward, accessible methods, but certain ulcers are caused by a bacteria that is known as H. pylori and it comes with an increased risk of stomach cancer. Below you will find an explanation of this bacteria and the ulcers it causes, and you will also find information about stomach cancer and common treatments, and potential H. pylori natural treatments.
What is H. Pylori?
H. pylori or Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that enters the body and lives in the digestive tract. This bacteria is in a great number of people who do not experience any symptoms of it. But other people may have ulcers in the lining of the stomach or small intestine. This bacteria can cause infections and stomach cancer by eating away your stomach lining, causing acid to get in places that would be protected.
Causes of H.Pylori
The way to get this bacteria into your digestive system is through the mouth. One common cause of H. pylori is through bacteria that is found in food, water, or on utensils and it is very common throughout the world, but less common in the US. Clean water and sewage systems prevent exposure to H. pylori.
Ulcers are caused by H. pylori by eating through the lining of the stomach which results in acid splashing through or around the lining which can lead to sores known as ulcers, which if left unchecked, can bleed into your stomach and intestines and that will lead to severe health issues.
Diagnosis of H. Pylori
Your doctor should test you for H. pylori to find if you are at risk for stomach cancer in case you have symptoms of an ulcer or you’ve already had one in the past. The symptoms of an ulcer are vomiting, bloating, burping, and unexplained weight loss and if an ulcer is left unchecked, it can cause bloody stool, dizziness, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and severe stomach pain which should be checked out immediately. If you have heartburn, belly pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, and unexplained weight loss, that means that you may have early signs of stomach cancer.
You need to make sure that if you have or had an ulcer that it is recorded in your health records. Such information is easier to keep with the implementation of electronic health records, but make sure that the records are accurate and up-to-date.
Conventional H. Pylori treatments
If you want to deal with H. pylori infections and the resulting health conditions then you need to kill the bacteria itself which conventionally includes taking two types of antibiotics. Drugs are also recommended by the doctors which reduce the amount of acid in the stomach such as Prilosec and medicines which block histamine, like Pepcid. This treatment lasts for several weeks and it involves follow-up testing to ensure that the bacteria and infections are gone. This testing includes using radiologic imaging technologies with which you can make sure that the cancer is done. You may want to talk with your doctor about how CT scans and how MRIs can affect your body and if these are right for you and how to keep your immune system healthy regardless of the exposure to radiation.
H. Pylori natural treatments
H. Pylori is one of many bacteria that can grow resistant to antibiotics and because of this reason treatments become longer and needed to be repeated more times before the bacteria could die completely.
Many natural substances contain antibiotic properties. Yogurt has a lactic acid bacteria which is known to suppress H. pylori without killing the good bacteria in your stomach like commercial antibiotics do. The sulforaphane occurs naturally in broccoli and cauliflower and it is proposed as a treatment. You need to talk to your doctor about the research into alternative treatments if you think that conventional treatments won’t do you any good. A possible solution could be the diet changes and preventative measure, together with antibiotic and probiotic supplements.