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Nov 14, 2013

Healthy Living looks at a very common stomach infection

If you suffer from ongoing stomach discomfort then the following story may interest you. Tonight, we finds out about a very common stomach infection that may be causing most of your tummy trouble. This week’s Healthy Living focuses on the H. Pylori Infection.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

We all know food choices, stress and bad habits can wreak havoc on our stomachs. But if you are experiencing regular stomach problems then you may actually be a victim of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.


Dr. Mark Musa, Gastroenterologist

Mark Musa

“Helicobacter Pylori or H Pylori is a bacteria that causes chronic inflammation in the inner lining of the stomach. It is a very common infection; approximately fifty percent of the world population is infected with it. In a country like Belize, it is linked with conditions like overcrowding and poor hygiene. Contaminated food, water, and close person to person contact from saliva, in a population of Belize, the rate may be higher like seventy percent. It buries itself to lining of the stomach and over time – many months or years – it slowly damages the stomach leading initially to inflammation which we refer to as gastritis and then if that progresses and  becomes more serious it can lead to ulcers in the stomach and duodenum.”


H Pylori infections is one of the factors that increase the risk of developing stomach cancers but Dr Musa points out that while, it may be common, it does not have the same effects of all those affected.


Dr. Mark Musa

“The majority of people who are carrying the bacteria actually have no symptoms. When it is starting to damage the stomach you might have mild non specific symptoms  like upper adnominal discomfort, nausea, belching but if that progresses and you deliver an ulcer you might get more severe pain in your upper abdomen, more severe pain in your upper abdomen, lose your appetite and you might even develop a complication of an ulcer. Ulcers can bleed, you might then notice that you might either vomit blood or pass dark black, blood stool.  The most worrisome symptoms – if you have prolonged loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, anemic or see blood in your stool.”


H Pylori can be detected by a blood test, stool test or via an endoscopy. Dr Musa does not advise for people to randomly test for H Pylori.


Dr. Mark Musa

“So you might wonder in my next blood test should I ask for an H Pylori, if you have no symptoms, in terms of your stomach: indigestion, belching, discomfort – I would not recommend it as a routine test; it is likely that most are just carriers, in those people who do have symptoms and you’re young, less that forty to forty-five, you have mild symptoms less than a few weeks, you can test in the blood or stool, if it is positive then you treat with the standard treatment.  If you more serious complaints, weight loss, loss of appetite and those you need to do the more definitive tests like the endoscopy.”


Healthy Living

This chronic infection is treated with antibiotics for one to three weeks; and if H Pylori is treated effectively the chance of re-infection significantly lessens.


Dr. Mark Musa

“That initial first line treatment is probably effective to about eighty percent of the times, you can actually get rid of the bacteria, the majority of persons don’t normally do the follow up tests to see if the treatment has worked. Normally, I would recommend after one to three week, wait three to four weeks being off any medication and then you do a stool test to see if the treatment has worked.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Healthy Living looks at a very common stomach infection”

  1. David says:

    A clove of garlic washed down by a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with Spring water should do the trick. The Creator always made the best medicine.
    Could you agree?

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