Helicobacter pylori (HP): It is the most common cause of chronic gastritis. HP is a spiral-shaped bacterium that settles in the stomach when taken orally, causing an inflammation we call gastritis.
It lives under the mucus layer that covers the gastric mucosa, protecting it from stomach acid and other factors.
HP makes the gastric mucosa sensitive to acid and other aggressive factors by weakening the mucus layer with both the toxins it secretes and some substances that occur after the immune response of the body against the bacteria (the response of the body’s immune system against the bacteria).
Since it is usually taken in childhood in developing countries, if gastritis is not treated, it causes a lifelong chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa.
It has been shown that approximately 80% of our society, especially in the elderly population, is infected with this bacterium.
Although HP infection is considered to be one of the leading factors in ulcer formation, the absence of ulcers in all people infected with this bacterium and the detection of HP negative ulcers at an increasing rate in recent years suggest that other factors besides HP are effective in ulcer formation.
Today, diseases that are accepted to be caused by HP infection are seen in the figure. HP has been accepted among the 1st degree carcinogenic factors by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The presence of the bacterium in the stomach can be demonstrated by tests such as endoscopic biopsy, urea-breath testing, and searching for antibodies and antigens in blood and stool.
In patients who are found to have HP in the stomach, some special drug regimens are used to clear the bacteria from the stomach. The effectiveness of this treatment is around 80-85%.