Having frequent heartburns? You might be under bacteria attack!

  • Nida Khan, Indore
  • Updated: Dec 13, 2015 19:12 IST
Having too much oily food can trigger acidity. (Pic for representation)

Irritated about the recurring bouts of acidity, despite cautiously avoiding oily and sticky food? It’s time you quit popping in an antacid tablet and get checked for Helicobacter Pylori—a type of bacteria commonly found in the digestive tract.

Perceived to be responsible for severe acidity, ulcers and even stomach cancers, a number of researches around the world have revealed that six out of 10 people suffering from acidity regularly have H Pylori bacteria to blame.

Discovered in the year 1982 by scientists, the bacteria attacks the lining of stomach, thereby exposing one to the acids human body uses to digest food. Once the bacteria have done enough damage, acid can get through the lining, which in turn could lead to ulcers.

While children are more prone to the bacteria attack, even adults are not safe. While using contaminated food, water or utensils usually makes one prone to H Pylori attack, chances of being affected by the bacteria becomes double in countries or communities that lack clean water or good sewerage systems--a normal condition in developing countries.

“H Pylori infection is extremely common. As per studies published in leading medical journals across the world, about two-thirds of the population are infected the bacteria, but do not face any problem as is dormant. However, when it receives the right kind of environment in the body it gets activated,” said Dr KD Bhargava, an eminent gastroenterologist.

“It is strange that we never get checked for H pylori bacteria. We either pop in antacids that subsides the acids in the stomach or a Prilosec (omeprazole) that hampers the formation of acid. Only a few get themselves treated for H Pylori, which is the actual reason for acidity and heartburn in more than 80% cases,” said Dr Bhargava.

Blaming the poor awareness among patients and doctors about the bacteria, Dr Bhargav said: “Most of the time people, who suffer from acidity, rush to either a physician or regular chemist as it is never considered a serious disease. However, one should never do that, as only expert care can help one to a lead a better disease-free life.”

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