Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium responsible for ulcers and stomach cancer

Health 28 January, 2018


Published the 28.01.2018 at 00: 30
Update the 28.01.2018 at 19: 30


Keywords :

ulcèremaladie infectious

It’s not really a scoop but it is true that information sometimes goes wrong. Small flash-back. We are in the 80’s. Ulcer of the stomach is the nightmare of the sick who are suffering this hell, the doctors who know a bit relieve by drugs to combat the acidity, but not a cure for the disease recur on a regular basis. Each time a little more serious, and the surgeons who, in the end of the chain, do not stop to remove stomachs pierced, in the midst of gastrointestinal bleeding cataclysmic.

An infection of the stomach

A table not an exaggeration, that, almost 40 years later is a disease of the middle Ages. It is that time in between has verified the brilliant intuition of two australian doctors, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, who have imagined, that the stomach was not attacked by its own acid secretions, but by a microbe.
We knew that there exist in many stomachs but we did not know his role. We had never ever been able to do reproduce. The discoveries of the most important ones always leave out the hand at random and it is forgetting all of the samples in the incubator for 6 days instead of 2, that Barry Marshall, found themselves with thousands of bacteria.

Serve as a guinea pig

Remained to convince a medical opinion was reluctant, especially as the Australians were two characters, shall we say, atypical (not folk) as the mandarins of the time liked to repeat, and a laboratory opposed to the validation of this fact by the scientific community, in order to continue to sell its anti-ulcer drugs.
In the Face of this skepticism unbearable, Marshall decides to serve as a guinea pig by chowing down a full glass of these famous microbes. Check, before and after, in front of the bailiffs, and the highlighting of a stomach damaged. We are in 1983.

At the end… the Nobel prize !

It will still take years for the scientific community to accept his bad faith and that the patients can benefit from the consequence of this discovery is brilliant and his demonstration of courageous : the ability to be rid permanently of a peptic ulcer with a simple antibiotic treatment !
The science is generally less grateful than the general public. Our two Australians will have to wait 20 years to be recognized, this time unanimously, what makes you laugh these two lovable characters.

Helicobacter pylori

The microbe responsible is called Helicobacter Pylori, because this bacterium has a helix shape. She loves to develop in a bath of acid and is therefore very well in the stomach.
There, she develops an infection that creates inflammation of the wall and eventually an ulcer. An infection that is treatable with a combination of 2 antibiotics that are deadly efficiency. It adds drugs the protective of the stomach, very well-known and highly prescribed, to promote their effectiveness, and the turn is played. It is for this reason that there was almost no ulcers severe as formerly, and that there is almost no more surgery to remove the stomach. It is one of the most dramatic progress of medicine.

The most common cause

In 70 to 80% of ulcers, this infection is responsible. In other cases, certain medications that cause them ; stars very used. For example, the anti-inflammatory non-steroidal, that we take for rheumatic pain, for the teeth for the fever. This may also be the aspirin… These products can cause heartburn, but also give the ulcers pain-free, which will be revealed by a complication, gastrointestinal bleeding. In France, there are 20 to 30 000 gastrointestinal bleeding per year due to these drugs. This is why you should always take them with a protective stomach when one is at risk, even for a very short.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

When you feel burning in stomach when belching, digestions difficult, it is not – as feared by many people – of an ulcer, but rather of what is called gastroesophageal reflux disease.
In general this is not very serious and your doctor will tell you perfectly are a few simple rules to make it disappear. And if this is not the case, he has numerous weapons at its disposal to relieve you.

Cancer of the stomach

Cancer of the stomach is due to, in approximately 80% of cases, the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which colonizes the mucosa of the stomach and causes the person infected chronic gastritis, which persists throughout life if not treated.
Most often, it evolves without specific symptoms, even if it is the first cause of peptic ulcer disease. It can be treated with an antibiotic, in particular in order to avoid developing stomach cancer.
The Helicobacter pylori infection, affecting 20% to 50% of the French population but it does cause the development of cancer of the stomach in less than 1 % of cases. This risk is more significant when there is a family history (father/mother, brother/sister, child) to cancer of the stomach.