Scientific understanding of the “ghost” of the stomach H. pylori

What is H. pylori? Why are they called the “ghosts” of the stomach? Why does “anti-pylori toothpaste” not prevent H. pylori infection? How to prevent, detect and treat H. pylori infection? The medical experts from Peking Union Medical College Hospital and Cancer Hospital of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences have given authoritative answers.

H. pylori is a microaerobic Gram-negative bacterium in the form of a spiral, a bacterium that can colonize the human stomach for a long time and cause chronic inflammation, which can be transmitted orally and fecally.

How dangerous is H. pylori infection? The main cause of H. pylori infection is gastritis and peptic ulcer, and it is also a high risk factor for gastric cancer.

Most people with H. pylori infection have no symptoms or complications, but almost all have chronic active gastritis, Yan said. Peptic ulcers occur in about 15 to 20 percent of those infected, dyspepsia in 5 to 10 percent, and gastric malignancy in about 1 percent.

H. pylori infection is also an important pathogenic factor in gastroduodenal ulcers and is closely associated with the development of gastric cancer and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma. According to the World Health Organization, the risk of gastric cancer can increase two to three times in H. pylori-infected individuals, while in developing countries, about 63% of gastric cancer cases are associated with H. pylori infection.

In addition, H. pylori is a strong “fighter”. In addition to the gastric mucosa, H. pylori can be found in saliva, dental plaque and feces.

“H. pylori colonizes the stomach” is a scientific characteristic of the bacteria, so there is no scientific basis for relying on toothpaste brushing as a part of oral cleaning to prevent or treat H. pylori infection. The “Science Disinformation Platform” sponsored by the Chinese Association for Science and Technology and other departments has published an article “Can HP be killed with “H. pylori toothpaste”? Based on this scientific understanding of H. pylori, it is easy to identify “anti-pylori toothpaste” false propaganda.

Illegal businesses often take advantage of consumers’ fear of stomach cancer to promote their products with false efficacy propaganda. Article 17 of the Advertising Law stipulates that, except for medical, pharmaceutical, and medical device advertisements, any other advertisements involving disease treatment functions are prohibited and shall not use medical terms or terms that are likely to confuse the promoted goods with drugs or medical devices.

In order to avoid regulation, some “anti-pylori toothpaste” packaging written on the “machinery,” “consumer”, but also on the batch number labeling. In fact, the “brand” refers to the health lot number approved by the local health department audit, does not have any curative effect, belongs to the sanitary disinfection category; “mechanical” refers to the medical device for the record, mechanical products is a low degree of risk, the implementation of the national routine management The medical device can be guaranteed to be safe and effective. And toothpaste generally belongs to the “makeup”. These batch numbers do not prove that the toothpaste itself has the efficacy of preventing H. pylori infection.

Experts say that the high rate of H. pylori infection in China may be related to the habit of sharing meals.

The most effective means to prevent H. pylori infection is to implement the disinfection of tableware and to implement the communal chopsticks system and meal sharing system. It is not uncommon for one person to be infected with H. pylori and the whole family to be infected, mainly because the system of sharing meals in the family makes H. pylori infections through saliva, and the use of chopsticks to hold each other’s food during meals also increases the risk of infection among co-diners, and young children and the elderly are more likely to be infected.

In addition, the development of the disease is also related to many other factors, such as dietary habits, lifestyle habits, genetic factors, etc.

Experts from Cancer Hospital of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences suggest that if you want to detect whether you are infected with H. pylori, it is recommended to do fecal H. pylori antigen test in regular hospital, followed by C-13 urea breath test. If a gastroscopy is performed, a rapid urease test can be used to detect the presence of H. pylori infection and observe the presence of gastritis, gastric ulcer and gastric cancer.

Even if the infection is confirmed, experts say, patients do not need to be overly stressed. The vast majority of people can achieve bacterial eradication through oral medication for less than two weeks. Jing Li, an attending physician in the Department of Health Medicine at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, recommends that people with stomach disorders must be treated with bactericidal therapy.

More commonly used is quadruple therapy, which involves taking a combination of two antibiotics and bismuth and acid suppressants for about two weeks. Julia Li cautions that there must be evidence of a presenting infection before deciding on treatment. There is also a medical opinion that H. pylori germs do not always need to be eradicated, and patients are advised to discuss with their doctors about their indications before deciding.