Dr. Weyrich's Naturopathic Functional Medicine Notebook is a collection of information on topics of interest to Dr. Weyrich that may be of interest to the world wide audience. Due to limitations of time, not all information that Dr. Weyrich knows or would like to further research is published here. Dr. Weyrich welcomes financial contributions to support specific research topics, as well as copies of non-free access journal articles for him to review on a topic. Constructive criticism is also welcome.


Overview of Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacter pylori is the bacteria that causes most cases of gastrointestinal ulcers. People with low stomach acidity (hypochlorhydria) are particularly at risk. Paradoxically, part of the standard treatment for stomach ulcers is the use of drugs that reduce stomach acid (antacids). While antacid treatment can relieve the burning symptoms caused by acid irritating the ulcerated stomach lining, unless an effective antibacterial treatment regimen is mounted simultaneously, the underlying Helicobacter pylori infection will be made worse.

Patients with ulcers due to Helicobacter pylori should recover with proper treatment and should not need to take antacid drugs for long periods of time. Failure of treatment of Helicobacter pylori raises concern that the initial diagnosis was incorrect, and additional diagnostic procedures are warranted to rule out more serious diseases.


Pathophysiology of Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacter pylori grows in the mucosal lining the stomach, where it is protected from the gastric acid by the mucosa. In addition, Helicobacter pylori has an enzyme called "urease" that converts urea into ammonia, which neutralizes stomach acid in its vicinity.

The gastric mucosa also shields the Helicobacter pylori from the body's immune system. However, the immune system recognizes the infection and mounts an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response is largely responsible for the formation of the painful ulcers.


ICD-9 Codes related to Helicobacter pylori

ICD9-CodeDescriptionComments
531.xxGastric ulcer 

References for Helicobacter pylori