An imbalance in gut bacteria can manifest in several ways, from abnormal bowel movements to constant fatigue and inflammation, indicating autoimmune dysfunction. An unhealthy overgrowth of H. pylori bacteria in your stomach and small intestine is especially troublesome, so it’s critical to recognize and treat it as soon as they emerge.
What is H. Pylori Bacteria, and When Does It Become Dangerous?
Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori for short, is a type of bacteria that exists in the stomachs of most, if not all, humans today. H. pylori is considered a “normal” flora because it occurs in most people’s stomachs, but it can cause infections, ulcers, and other ill health effects when it becomes too abundant.
The Mayo Clinic estimates that more than half of the global population may suffer from H. pylori infection, with most infected people failing to recognize or act upon their symptoms.
What Symptoms Indicate H. Pylori Overgrowth in Your Gut?
You should never dismiss gut discomfort as an unsolvable issue that you must simply learn to accept. Symptoms of H. pylori infection can range from uncomfortable to debilitating, and may include:
- Gastritis, which is a swelling of the stomach lining that can cause premature feelings of fullness, frequent nausea and vomiting, and burning or other pains in your abdomen
- Sores and ulcers in your small intestine, which can cause abdominal discomfort and pain
- Abnormal weight loss or gain
- Unusual changes in appetite
- Frequent burping
The symptoms of an H. pylori infection can cause significant pain, sleeplessness, and disruption of daily life. According to the Cleveland Clinic, excessive H. pylori bacteria may even increase your risk of developing stomach cancer.
How Your Gut Health Plays a Role in H. Pylori Overgrowth
While H. pylori exists in the stomachs of most humans, poor gut health may accelerate the growth of H. pylori bacteria and ultimately cause an infection. “Gut health” generally refers to the balance of certain bacteria in your stomach and gastrointestinal tract.
When H. pylori take over your stomach and small intestine, they disrupt the delicate balance of helpful bacteria in your gut. Therefore, restoring your gut’s bacterial balance is essential to healing H. pylori-related problems—including discomfort, pain, and infections.
Many people fail to realize just how damaging poor gut health is. Whether you’re suffering from an overabundance of H. pylori bacteria or other types of bacterial imbalance, virtually every aspect of your body—and mind—will suffer as a consequence. Poor gut health can exacerbate stress, anxiety, pain sensitivity, and other aspects of your health not typically associated with the gut, says Harvard Health.
The point is, you don’t want to just tolerate an H. pylori infection, as it may be eroding your quality of life in ways that you haven’t considered.
Consider Probiotics and These Other Gut Care Tips to Treat an H. Pylori Infection, and to Prevent Future Ones
You’ll want to work with a gastroenterologist or other qualified professional to develop a treatment plan for your H. pylori infection. Treatments may include:
- Using antibiotics to eradicate harmful bacteria from your stomach and small intestine
- Taking Pepto-Bismol or similar drugs to help heal an ulcer
- Taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to regulate stomach acid production
- Taking prebiotics and probiotics
Prebiotics and probiotics help flush out H. pylori bacteria and prevent future infections. Data suggests that probiotics may complement an antibiotic regimen, helping prevent adverse effects of the antibiotics. Probiotics may also work as a means of removing H. pylori bacteria.
Resources for Helping You Overcome and Prevent H. Pylori Infections and Other Gut-Related Ailments
If you’d like to learn more about the importance of gut health and how to overcome (and prevent) harmful gut issues like H. pylori infection, these articles might be helpful:
- Is Happiness a Gut Feeling? The Gut-Mind Connection
- How Often Should I Take Probiotics?
- How to Heal a Leaky Gut
For more information about gut health and its role in a healthy, happy life, visit Gut to Know today.