In the last few years of my practice, I have begun seeing more and more patients coming through my practice that are in their twenties and thirties. Interestingly, the majority of these young patients are coming in with similar complaints. These younger patients are typically coming in complaining about the one or more of the following symptoms:
- Heartburn/acid reflux
- Ongoing dull stomach pain
- Pain between the breastbone and navel that comes and goes for several days or weeks (sometimes this pain goes away when you eat or take antacids, but the pain always returns.)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Bloody stool
While these symptoms may seem completely unrelated, they are all, in fact, indicators of the same type of infection. H. Pylori is a bacterial infection that is common and often begins in childhood. Interestingly, most people with H. Pylori infections never develop any signs or symptoms of the infection. Of those people that do show symptoms, they typically don’t do so until adulthood – long after the initial set in of the infection.
So what makes H. Pylori so dangerous?
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a very common infection. Now look at that list of symptoms. Many of those symptoms are commonly associated with general upset stomach. What you brush off as a tummy ache might actually be your body telling you that you have an H. Pylori infection that has reached the point where it is beginning to cause ulcers. Those ulcers are linked to long-term discomfort and even forms of cancer.
Dr. Baker strongly suggests that if these symptoms sound like something you or a loved one are familiar with, that you come in for a screening to see if you may be suffering with an H. Pylori infection and what some possible treatment options for you may be.