H. pylori can cause, or at least contribute to, many symptoms outside the digestive system of an infected person. These symptoms are known as the “extragastric manifestations” of H pylori. Studies show a link with an increased number of symptoms and extra-gastric disease. Some of the most common symptoms are:
Depression and anxiety
Low energy / fatigue
Fast weight loss
Skin problems such as urticaria and rosacea
Pain between the shoulder blades
If we take the time to understand how our bodies work, it’s easy to understand how H. pylori infection can cause symptoms elsewhere in our body. Science is now revealing some very interesting associations between H. pylori and seemingly unrelated symptoms and health conditions. Although the “association” does not mean that H. pylori infection causes these symptoms and disease, it does suggest that the infection may play a role in its development or aetiology.
Can you remember a time when you had the flu or flu? I bet you feel very tired and maybe even spend a few days in bed.
There’s a good reason for that. When you have an infection, your body must respond to an immune response to try to eradicate the organisms that cause the infection. These organisms can be parasites, viruses or bacteria such as H. pylori.
The immune response takes a lot of energy so your body naturally redirects energy production to help fight off invading “bugs.” In fact, it doesn’t matter if this intruder is a cold or a gastrointestinal infection – the results are exactly the same.
The problem is that the H pylori bacteria in your body is very difficult to treat and the immune response may not be enough to get rid of it. However, there is a need for a sustained response that affects energy levels.
Apart from the immune response, H pylori can have other negative effects on your body which can lead to fatigue and fatigue.
First, it causes inflammation (in the stomach this inflammation is called gastritis). Research clearly shows that chronic daily inflammation can lead to fatigue and many other symptoms. One such study conducted by Su et al. This is done when the patient is treated with a chemical known to cause inflammation (called interferon gamma). Researchers asked patients what symptoms developed because of their “inflammation.” The symptoms reported are:
By definition, if H pylori causes chronic inflammation it can cause all of these symptoms in the long term, and I have seen this with my clients year after year.
It should also be noted that H pylori infection can decrease the production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach. When you don’t have enough acidity, food can become more difficult to digest. Research has consistently shown that H pylori bacterial infection can lead to iron deficiency anemia and B12 deficiency, both of which can lead to fatigue.
Finally, several studies seem to suggest a link between H pylori infection and autoimmune thyroid disease. The thyroid is essential for regulating energy levels, motivation and “driving”. When function is impaired, lethargy and fatigue can result.
In short, it is clear that digestive infections like H pylori are not only responsible for digestive symptoms. In fact, the digestive symptoms caused by a Helicobacter pylori-like infection are just the tip of the iceberg. If you are infected with H pylori and you feel tired or have an imbalanced mood such as depression and anxiety, getting rid of H pylori may be the missing link for you.