Is H. Pylori Contagious and How to Prevent Its Overgrowth?
Helicobacter Pylori is a bacterium that is found in the stomach of over half the world’s population, according to Wikipedia only identified in the last couple of decades. Its discovery was key in determining that a microbial cause did in fact exist for many gastrointestinal disorders, most notably peptic ulcers. Interestingly enough, H. Pylori contagious factors were also explored.
One of the main end results of an H. Pylori infection is ulcers of the digestive tract. These are sores that form along various parts of this area. For instance, an ulcer that forms in the upper part of the small intestine is referred to as a duodenal ulcer. Meanwhile, those that occur in the stomach are referred to as a gastric ulcer. Ulcers in the stomach can begin as inflammation, caused by the bacterium. This inflammation can give way to the rise of the sores or gastric ulcers.
Because of the conditions that can be associated with a population of the stomach dwelling bacteria, H. Pylori contagious concerns are common. After all, if the bacteria can be spread from person to person, then therefore, each person that it is passed to could potentially bear a risk of developing digestive troubles as a result. Since a hereditary link has been noticed in H. Pylori infection, it has led the medical community to determine that there is some potential for contagiousness of the bacterium, according to KidsHealth.org. This is further evidenced by the fact that in areas that are over populated or conditions exist that could be deemed unsanitary, the bacteria seems to be much more prolific. However, although there has been some data to suggest that H. Pylori contagious potential does in fact exist little is known about the way in which it could potentially be passed from person to person.
Because so little is known about the spread of the bacteria, prevention methods have not exactly been established. However, some common sense measures should be employed to help deter the transmission of H. Pylori. Frequent hand washing is of course one of the best methods to prevent the spread of any illness or bacteria, and this is especially important in areas where there are many people and a greater chance of coming into contact with contagions. Proper food preparation techniques should always be followed to prevent the spread of food borne illnesses and the spread of contagious illness from persons preparing food as well. H. Pylori contagious concerns could also stem from water sources, and therefore, ensuring that drinking water or that used in cooking is from a safe and clean source should also be considered.
When symptoms are present, prevention of spread is even more important. Although, identifying H. Pylori symptoms is hardly a clear cut undertaking. Many of them can simply be mistaken for signs of indigestion. Common symptoms include vomiting and abdominal pain. KidsHealth.org notes that it is not uncommon for many of the symptoms of H. Pylori to mimic those of gastritis such as gas and stomach bloating. And, abdominal pain which can create a burning sensation can also be attributed to acid reflux. Therefore, it is important that when symptoms such as stomach bloating and gas persist without a known cause that a health care provider be involved to help determine if H. Pylori is the culprit behind the symptoms, and to order tests such as stool samples and blood work if needed to confirm suspicions. Often, treatment includes acid reducers such as proton pump inhibitors combined with antibiotics which not only can reduce symptoms but also alleviate H. Pylori contagious concerns as well.
Given the relatively new knowledge concerning the common stomach bacterium, it is likely that in time, more will be discovered about H. Pylori as well as uncovering more about H. Pylori contagious concerns. Until then, however, best practices for preventing potential spread include simple and common sense approaches that are suitable for containing the risk of person to person transmission for other communicable illnesses. And, for the nearly half of people who already have the bacterium and are largely asymptomatic, simple food choices like bananas and plums that can help control the growth of the stomach dwelling bacteria can help to keep it in check and reduce the risk of stomach ails associated with it.