Does h pylori cause itching?
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** Helicobacter pylori infection and skin diseases **
Author: Dr Eugene Tan, Dermatology Registrar, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton,
New Zealand, 2009.
*What is H. pylori?*
H. pylori (/Helicobacter pylori/) is a bacterium that is found in the
stomach and is responsible for most cases of peptic ulcer. About half of
the world's population has this bacteria making it the most common
bacterial infection in humans.^1
H. pylori is more common in developing nations. The risk of contracting H.
pylori is related to socioeconomic status and poor living conditions such
as overcrowding,lack of clean, running water and a higher number of
siblings. As a result, most children in developing nations are infected
before the age of 10.
In New Zealand, a higher prevalence is noted amongst Maori and Polynesians.
Studies show that about 5% of European children become infected by the age
of 20 years, in contrast to 50% of Polynesian children.^2
The exact route of infection remains unknown but person-to-person
transmission through oral/oral or faecal/oral exposure is the most likely
cause. This means that activities such as sharing food, cutlery or poor
toilet hygiene can result in transmission of H. pylori to another
*What diseases are clearly linked to H. pylori infection?*
H. pylori causes direct disease of the stomach. Other diseases are probably
related to the body's immune response to the bacteria.
· Chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining)
· Peptic ulcers
· Stomach cancers
· Certain types of lymphomas (cancers of lymphoid
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