Hello, back again. It’s Eric Bakker, New Zealand
naturopath. I’m going to continue on with my series on helicobacter pylori. We’re going
to talk about how to test and diagnose helicobacter pylori in this video. There are basically
three ways you can test for H. pylori, probably four ways I think, but I think probably one
of the most accurate ones is the UBT or the urea breath test. It’s very interesting. You
basically have to stop for about 14 days prior to doing this test. You’ve got to stop antibiotics.
You’ve got to stop any bismuth containing preparations like Pepto Bismol. You’ve got
to stop any proton pump inhibitors, PPIs, any medications that block stomach acid. You
stop all that kind of stuff for 14 days. Then you swallow a small amount of substance containing
this stuff called urea. Urea is quite harmless because the body actually
makes urea when it breaks protein down. What happens is if you’ve got any HP present in
the stomach, they will convert the urea quite rapidly to carbon dioxide. Because you remember,
they convert this and then a gas gets produced and it’s a by-product as well. The urea gets
converted by urease, an enzyme that this bacterium has, that convert the urease to alkaline substances
to allow it to live. They convert it to bicarbonate and to ammonia and that’s what allows it to
live in the mucous of the environment that’s acidic. But the breath can be measured after
a period of time for carbon dioxide. If the carbon dioxide markedly goes up, they know
you’ve definitely got helicobacter. I like this test because it’s very quick to determine
if you’ve got it. But most places, you can’t get this test done anymore. It’s incredible.
They used to offer it here in New Zealand all the time. But all of a sudden, it’s just
not available. The blood test is only effective in terms
of measuring the antibodies. Helicobacter when it’s present in the body, the immune
system will attack it and produce antibodies. These antibodies can flow around in the bloodstream
for a long, long, long time. Even for years after, so there is no way of accurately measuring
if you’ve got a current infection by doing serum antigen test.
The fecal test is a little bit more accurate in that it can determine if the treatment
has been successful by showing a positive or negative. I’ll often do both of those tests
with patients. But I can tell you now, I’ve got very little faith in testing for helicobacter.
I can’t recall how many times I’ve had a patient where I was absolutely sure. I had a gut feeling,
pardon the pun, a gut feeling that they had this infection. I got the testing done and
it came back negative and then I treated the patient and they got a result. This hasn’t
happened once or twice. I would say over a hundred times, maybe two hundred times, this
has happened where the treatment was a success, but the test was an abysmal failure. I like
to have a positive test as a confirmation, but I don’t really rely on testing anymore
for treatment of helicobacter. I just treat. Unfortunately, medical doctors can’t do that.
They have to diagnose before they can treat and I believe in many cases, this is quite
a dumb thing to do. The doctor that taught me quite a lot of clinical skills regarding
natural medicine a long, long time ago said, “When you get experience, it’s best to treat
rather than to analyze every single thing and then treat after the analysis. If it’s
going to do no harm to the patient, you might as well just treat and see what the outcome
is.” A lot of clinical experiences are based on what happens in the clinic. So if you recurrently
find that patients who improve significantly even if the test result was negative, I don’t
really care. I don’t really care, to be honest. If the patient gets a favorable outcome, that’s
what I care about. Don’t dismay if the tests come back negative for you.
SIBO testing is another test you can do to determine small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
and I believe it may also be partially effective for helicobacter. But as I mentioned in a
previous video, in my opinion, there are many other bacteria that live in the stomach and
the duodenum and other areas of your gut that have not yet really been detected as such.
And I believe that people can develop many different signs and symptoms of infections
that the medical system completely bypasses and just places patients on acid blocking
medication. In order to “cure” the problem, they just put them on drugs and it’s not really
the way to go. Should you test or shouldn’t you test? That’s
up to you and your doctor to decide. But if a test comes back negative and you really
feel you’ve got helicobacter, then just treat and see what happens. If the medical doctor
says “no,” then you can always try the natural treatment first. As long as it’s an effective
natural treatment and we’ll talk about that in a subsequent video.
Thanks for joining in on this video. We’re going to do another video now on the risk
factors. What are the risk factors if H. pylori is left untreated? Thanks for tuning in.