H. Pylori and Chronic ITP

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Feature image from ITPANDME

Comments about people with ITP and H. PYLORI infections are popping up all over the place. HEREHERE & HERE. In each case, people with ITP have seen an increase in their platelet counts after being treated for a Helicobacter Pylori infection.

What is a Helicobacter Pylori infection?

H.Pylori is a gut infection.  It is difficult to discover and treat, as H. Pylori burrow into the digestive mucosal lining and hide. For the immune system to attack an infection of H. Pylori, the immune system needs to start destroying your stomach lining to get to it.  Grose hey?  This causes the immune system to be chronically active and overworked. Perhaps the first step in a chain reaction that can cause the immune system to target the body.

What are the symptoms of H.Pylori infection?  Most people will have no symptoms at all.  A few patients may eventually present with a peptic ulcer.  An even smaller amount of patients with H. Pylori may end up with stomach Cancer.  Others may simply have indigestion, bloating or other symptoms of stomach inflammation.  Or no symptoms at all.

How does it cause ITP?  

There is no established mechanism to EXPLAIN HOW H. Pylori could be implicated in the development of an immune-mediated platelet killing spree. While it is still unknown why or how it works, a connection was found.

Only very recently RESEARCHERS found that there was a link with H. Pylori and ITP. The World Journal of Gastroenterology June 2014 and other studies found that the platelet counts markedly improved when patients were treated for H. pylori.  Medical treatment for ITP ranges from watchful waiting, immunoglobulin IV treatments to spleen removal.

Although the evidence and follow-up are limited, it appears reasonable to routinely screen patients with ITP for H Pylori, particularly in those populations with a high background prevalence of H Pylori infection.

Here is the thing. By definition, ITP is caused by your immune system, without cause.  If you have Primary ITP, then the idea is that there is no reason you have a low platelet count.  But if you were to eventually discover the cause of your ITP, then it would become secondary ITP.  And then there are steps you can take to heal yourself.  Yay!  (I want that kind)

Eradicating an H.Pylori infection?

pylori 2Firstly you need to get tested for H.Pylori with your doctor.  If it turns out you do have an H.Pylori infection, that is wonderful news.  There are many things you can do to solve it.  Primarily there is a strong antibiotic you can take.

ERADICATION THERAPY is simple and inexpensive, with limited toxicity and the advantage of avoiding long-term immunosuppressive treatment.  But there are also gentler, long-term treatments that are natural and also successful. Here are two ways to heal from H.Pylori NATURALLY.

In Conclusion…

While we cannot ascribe to all cases of chronic ITP to an H pylori infection, the EVIDENCE IS STRONG enough that H Pylori eradication should be mentioned on websites that discuss chronic ITP.  This information certainly opens up the door to a number of different management plans for ITP.

It might be just me, but every time I read something like this, I can feel pains in my stomach from just the thought of weird bacteria burrowing into my epithelium. I’m going to get myself tested this week!

by Meg

Meghan Brewster is a writer and blogger. She is an ITP patient and launched ITP&Me in 2011. She is a coffee lover and a try hard dancer. @meghan_brewster

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