Ulcers are never fun. Unpredictable and painful, ulcers can have quite the adverse effect upon your life. An ulcer can prevent you from enjoying family dinners or speciUlcers are never fun. You might hear a friend or family member attribute your condition to “stress” and tell you to “slow down”. The fact is that in most cases your ulcer is not caused by working too hard or dealing with life’s many ups and downs, it is caused by microscopic bacteria known as “H Pylori”.
H. Pylori, or heliobactor pylori, is a very important microaerophilic bacterium to get to know. This bacterium can found in the lining of your stomach. Patients who have symptoms of ulcers or gastritis should be tested for these bacteria before they further colonize and create symptoms of more serious ulceration or even induce the onset of cancer.
The helix shape of this bacterium has given it an evolutionary step up on other types of bacteria. For a bacteria to survive the acidity of the stomach, it must “hide”. Having a helix spiral shape and long flagella enables the bacterium to swim through the stomach and dig into the mucus at the epithelial cell layer. As this bacterium colonizes the stomach symptoms can begin to occur.
So what does this all mean to you?
Having this bacterium in your system is not in and of itself something to fear. In fact, its presence in 80% of the patients that have been tested for it is unknown to them—in other words, asymptomatic. The problem comes when it stops being asymptomatic and ulceration occurs. Ulcers are uncomfortable at best and excruciatingly painful at their worst. Patients have chosen hospitalization to deal with the pain of advanced ulcers. This is why it is very important to get tested and begin treatment before you are dealing with symptoms that are beyond the means of OTC medication to control.
H pylori can bet treated through a standard therapy of omeprazole, amoxicillin, and clarithomycin. For those with penicillin allergies metronidazole can be used instead. This approach has been used effectively for many years and will work in most cases to “cure” peptic ulcers. Like most bacteria and viruses, there can be mutations. Those who have antibiotic resistance will sometimes require additional doses of a bismuth colloid or levofloxacin to treat the ulcer. Dr. Gafanovich will work with you to create a program that can treat your condition effectively and definitively.
There are multiple routes for testing a patient for h. pylori, none of them are invasive. It can be found in the stool, blood, or even tested through your breath. If you are experiencing symptoms related to ulceration it is important to get tested! Call us now (212) 249-6218 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Marina Gafanovich, MD.