Is this bug eating away at your patients?
There is extensive research and an exhausting amount of studies
to support the fact that H. pylori can lead to chronic illness and death.
Start with the BH #418 or, better yet, the BH #401H (a more comprehensive GI panel).
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a spiral shaped bacterium that lives in or on the lining of the stomach. It causes more than 90 percent of ulcers, which are sores in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). Before 1982, when this bacterium was discovered, spicy food, acid, stress and lifestyle were considered the major causes of ulcers. But this is only the beginning. H. pylori in the stomach will degrade parietal cells, cells responsible for digestion. If they are wiped out by H. pylori, numerous problems result.
Helicobacter pylori infections are very prevalent and are often the cause of not only stomach ulcers, but also acid reflux, burping, belching and general upper GI distress – as well as stomach cancer. While acute infections are often highly symptomatic, the body has an amazing capability to adapt to infections that become long term, chronic in nature, and patients often have either very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Because of its shape and the way it moves, the bacterium can penetrate the stomach’s protective mucous lining where it produces urease, an enzyme that neutralizes beneficial stomach acids. This weakens the stomach’s protective mucus, making stomach cells more susceptible to the damaging influences of certain acids and enzymes, thereby leading to ulcers in the stomach or small intestine.
BH #418 – Helicobacter pylori Stool Antigen
The Helicobacter pylori stool antigen test was validated in studies including more than 10,000 patients, in many different countries world-wide. More than 40 studies, published in peer-reviewed journals, report an average accuracy exceeding 90%, in both adult and pediatric populations, for diagnosing the infection and for confirming the eradication after the therapy.
The antigen test, being more accurate than serology and more readily available than the Urea Breath Test, is an important option whenever the use of a non-invasive technique is recommended.
BH #383 – Helicobacter pylori Serum Antibodies
The IgM antibody is the early responder. IgM is elevated during the early stages of an exposure to H. pylori. There are two possible outcomes, either the immune system will eradicate the bacteria or the bacteria will begin to populate the mucosal lining of the upper GI tract. If IgM is the only elevated antibody to H. pylori, it must be correlated with active symptoms to warrant treatment. If asymptomatic, it is quite possible that the patient’s immune system has won the battle with H. pylori on its own. If treatment is not chosen at this time, it would be prudent to retest in 2-3 months to make sure that the patients’ immune system has in fact eradicated the infection.
The IgA antibody is the intermediate responder and quantitatively the second most prevalent humoral antibody. If IgA is elevated, there is presumptive evidence that an infection exists and it is transitioning from acute to chronic/long term condition. An elevated IgA level frequently accompanies an elevated IgG level.
The IgG antibody is the long term responder. IgG elevations mean that either a long term chronic infection exists that was either treated or untreated, or it is indicative of a protective antibody from a past infection that was resolved. Also, present research studies indicate that a positive IgG is in fact an ongoing infection, provided the patient was not treated for H. pylori within the previous six months. The patient must be asked about current symptoms and past H. pylori infections and treatments in order to distinguish clinically relevant results. If necessary, other lab tests may be indicated to clinically correlate all data to a final accurate diagnosis.