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Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) are bacteria that can cause an infection in the lining of your stomach. A 2020 study confirmed that using probiotics helps maintain the balance between good and bad gut bacteria. Taking probiotics with standard H. pylori treatment makes the antibiotics more effective because antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria in your stomach.
Probiotics help replenish good bacteria. They may also reduce your risk of developing yeast overgrowth. Lactobacillus acidophilus delivers the best results.
H. pylori are responsible for causing around 85 to 95 percent of duodenal and peptic ulcers in countries that are developing and between 30 to 50 percent of duodenal and peptic ulcers in developed countries. H. pylori infection is sometimes asymptomatic. Many people with H. pylori don’t know they have it. This bacterium can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as:
- burning pain in the abdomen
- loss of appetite
- frequent burping
- unexplained weight loss
- stomach cancer
The use of conventional treatments like antibiotics can cause challenging side effects in some people. It’s possible to experience nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Some people are resistant to antibiotics, which can complicate traditional approaches to treatment. As a result, interest in natural treatments for H. pylori infection is growing. These may be used in addition to conventional, prescribed treatments. They may also be used alone in some instances.
Many in vivo and in vitro studies on natural H. pylori treatments have been done. Most treatments reduced the number of bacteria in the stomach but failed to permanently eradicate them.
Be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning a natural treatment regimen. You shouldn’t replace your recommend treatment for H. pylori with natural remedies.
With your doctor’s approval, you can use natural treatments as adjuvant therapy. This may increase the effects of conventional drugs.
Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria in your stomach so probiotics help replenish good bacteria. They may also reduce your risk of developing yeast overgrowth. Researchers found evidence to suggest that the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus delivers the best results.
- establishes good bacteria in your gut
- may help you lose belly fat
- may cause unpleasant digestive symptoms
- may cause headaches or adverse reactions
- rich in polyphenols, which can help reduce inflammation
- may increase fat burning in the short term
- green tea contains caffeine, so be careful about overconsumption
Honey has been found to have antibacterial abilities against H. pylori. A systematic review supports this conclusion. No research to date has shown that honey can eradicate the bacteria on its own but it can inhibit the growth of the bacteria. Researchers suggest that using honey with standard treatments may shorten treatment time. Raw honey and Manuka honey may have the most antibacterial effects.
- may improve heart health
- high in antioxidants
- high in sugar, which may contribute to weight gain
Olive oil is effective in reducing the growth of H. pylori and may have a role in preventing the infection. Olive oil is a healthy choice to use in cooking and in salad dressings.
- reduces inflammation
- may benefit bone and heart health
- potential allergen
Licorice root is a common natural remedy for stomach ulcers. It may also help fight H. pylori. A 2020 review found that licorice root increased the eradication rate of the bacteria and has an antibacterial effect. It also seems to help prevent H. pylori from sticking to cell walls and helped promote ulcer healing. There are a variety of options available for purchase online, but licorice root may have drug interactions.
Talk with your doctor before adding licorice root to your treatment plan.
- may reduce indigestion and acid reflux
- may help treat peptic ulcers
- known to interact with drugs such as NSAIDs, blood thinners, statins, diuretics, among others
- may not be good long-term (Chronic use and large doses of licorice root can cause glycyrrhizin accumulation in your body, impacting cortisol levels and other dangerous symptoms.)
A compound in broccoli sprouts called sulforaphane may be effective against H. pylori. Broccoli sprouts have an antioxidant action that decreases inflammation and improves bowel health. It also may lower bacteria colonization and its effects.
- may reduce inflammation and promote gut health
- improves heart health
- high risk of bacterial contamination, so be sure to wash before consuming
- eating excessive amounts could impact your thyroid function
- more studies are needed to show effectiveness against H. pylori
LED blue light therapy might be a way to treat antibiotic-resistant H. pylori. Phototherapy uses ultraviolet light to help eliminate H. pylori in the stomach. Another study from 2020 found that using blue LED endoscopy enhanced curcumin therapy, resulted in less tissue damage, and reduced production and activity of H. pylori. Some researchers believe that phototherapy used within the stomach is safe. It may be beneficial when antibiotics are not an option.
- helpful if avoiding antibiotics
- temporary solution (The bacteria will repopulate a few days after phototherapy.)
Curcumin is an active ingredient found in turmeric, a spice. Curcumin is an antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2019 study discussed how curcumin reduced inflammation and prevented H. pylori from entering and damaging gastric cells. This improved blood flow to the area, which aids in the healing of gastric tissue damage. It also improved immune system response in the body by improving gut/brain communication.
The antioxidant and antimicrobial action of curcumin led the authors to suggest that adding curcumin to the triple therapy approach was beneficial with few side effects.
Doctors typically prescribe a combination of two antibiotics and an acid-reducing drug to treat H. pylori. This is known as triple therapy.
If you’re resistant to the antibiotics, your doctors may add another medication to your treatment plan. The goal is to get rid of 90 percent or more of the H. pylori bacteria present.
Treatment usually lasts no more than 2 weeks but recovering from an ulcer due to H. pylori can take longer. Using two antibiotics instead of one may reduce your risk of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics used to treat H. pylori include:
Acid-reducing medications help your stomach lining to heal. Some of these are:
- proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec) and lansoprazole (Prevacid), which stop acid production in the stomach
- histamine blockers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet), which block acid-triggering histamine
- bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), which coats and protects the lining of your stomach
Many people have the bacteria their entire lives and experience no symptoms. When it causes chronic gastric inflammation and remains untreated, serious complications may occur. These may include bleeding ulcers and stomach cancer. H. pylori is the main risk factor for some types of stomach cancer.
Eradication rates of H. pylori are high when an FDA-approved antibiotic treatment is used. Rates are highest when antibiotics are combined with an acid reducer. Adding natural treatments may offer additional healing benefits.
In the United States, doctors seldom test for H. pylori unless you have symptoms. If you have symptoms, call your doctor for an evaluation. H. pylori infection shares symptoms with other stomach conditions, such as acid reflux and GERD. It’s important you get the right diagnosis to make sure you’re treated correctly.
You may need to have an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, or both to check for other possible diagnoses.
If you test positive for H. pylori, the sooner you start treatment, the better. Natural treatments aren’t likely to harm you, but they aren’t proven to eliminate the infection. Don’t use them instead of conventional treatments without your doctor’s supervision.
The source of H. pylori is unclear. There are no formal recommendations from the CDC to prevent it. In general, you should practice good hygiene by frequently washing your hands and properly preparing your food. If you’re diagnosed with H. pylori, complete your full course of treatment to reduce your risk of recurrence.
Can you get rid of H. pylori without antibiotics?
To truly eradicate your body of the bacteria, a doctor’s recommendation of antibiotics will help get rid of H. pylori.
Is lemon water good for H. pylori?
Lemon water will not get rid of H. pylori. It may make your symptoms worse since it is acidic.
Is ginger good for H. pylori?
Ginger can help aid stomach issues, but will not get rid of H. pylori.