The link between stomach bacteria and skin

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am forever urging skin allergy sufferers to seek advice from a nutritionist and naturopath – to help them manage (or for a lucky few) eradicate their condition through diet.

I don’t consider myself to have a delicate stomach, nor do I have a wheat or dairy intolerance.

However, I know that my form of chronic urticaria is often made worse by what I eat (or don’t eat).

Dermatologists repeatedly told me there was zero link when I requested patch testing many moons ago, but I know my skin and months of undertaking painstaking food diaries taught me otherwise.

My brother, a vitiligo sufferer, has spent years trying to understand the roots of his condition and most recently has been exploring its possible link to a form of stomach bacteria, called Helicobacter Pylori.

This got me thinking, and researching too.

What is H Pylori?

H Pylori is a strain of bacteria commonly found in the stomach. Its unique spiral shape allows it to penetrate the stomach walls where it produces substances that weaken the stomach lining.

Sounds nasty, but a lot of people are thought to be infected with H Pylori – up to two thirds of the global population depending on which reports you read.

For the vast majority it does no harm at all but for others it can cause ulcers and in really extreme cases has been attributed to stomach cancer.

How is it contracted?

It’s thought that it is caught most often during childhood – through food or water and from poor hygiene. As a result it is most prevalent in developing countries.

It’s believed to be treated through a couple of different courses of antibiotics, but some doctors warn that it can recur in time.

Any link to my skin sensitivity?

One clinical study of chronic urticaria patients showed that 57% tested positive for the H Pylori bacterium compared to 40% of the control group.

The total study group was small though so hard to draw any statistically robust conclusions from this, however…

80% of the H Pylori positive urticaria group experienced complete remission after receiving H Pylori eradication treatment.

This is harder to ignore and suggests that H Pylori, while unlikely to be the cause of urticaria could certainly exacerbate it.

Certainly food for thought…

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