One of the symptoms of an H pylori infection is weight loss. Does that make these bacteria something you want to have in order to lose weight? Not at all. This infection occurs in the stomach and the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) and can lead to consequences that simply aren’t worth the potential boost it could give your dieting.
What is H Pylori and How Can it Cause Weight Loss?
Heliobacter pylori is a type of bacteria that attacks parts of your digestion, causing inflammation. Initial symptoms include redness and soreness in the affected areas. That said, lasting infection can cause additional unwanted symptoms. H pylori can cause unexpected weight loss, but also peptic ulcers – painful sores – in your upper digestive tract.
This is not a rare infection. In fact, it is quite common. The majority of people who are infected with H pyolori won’t experience weight loss or ulcers. In fact, most won’t show any symptoms at all. That said, for some, it can become quite dangerous over time. It is the primary cause of digestive ulcers.
What Happens in an Infection?
H pylori infections attack the stomach’s protective lining. The bacteria produce urease, an enzyme that reduces stomach acidity levels by neutralizing those that are made there. The result is a weakened stomach lining.
That lining is very important to your stomach. When it’s weakened, you experience an increased risk of damage from powerful digestive fluids like acid and pepsin. The result can be stomach or duodenum sores or ulcers. The pain they cause is among the reasons that H pylori can bring weight loss. The area around them becomes swollen and red.
Though researchers aren’t sure how, this type of infection can also cause the stomach to produce more acid. This can be problematic when the lining has already been damaged. It may also lead to symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD).
How Does This Infection Spread?
Medical experts may know why H pylori can bring on weight loss, but the cause of this infection remains unknown. Among the current leading hypotheses regarding the way these bacteria can spread is that they gravel from person to person by mouth through kissing, shared eating utensils, and other similar activities that can cause direct or indirect mouth-to-mouth transfer of germs. It may also spread through contact with vomit or feces, which can occur if food is not properly cooked or safely cleaned or if infected water is consumed.