Helicobacter Pylori, or what is called H. Pylori, is a bacteria that has been responsible for the development of stomach ulcers. We know that kids on the Autism spectrum seem to have a lot of gut problems, including bacterial imbalances, yeast problems, and digestive problems in general. Helicobacter Pylori typically tends to aggravate the stomach and alters stomach acid production which can affect digestive enzyme function in the small intestine. It leads to poor digestion and malabsorption, and can also be a trigger for food allergies or sensitivities. It can cause stomach pain, acid reflux, gastritis and overall discomfort in the upper intestinal area, particularly after eating.
There’s a number ways of testing for H. Pylori. The most common test is called an H. Pylori antibody test, where they look at antibodies, which are immune proteins that are generated by our immune system to the presence of an infection, whether it’s a bacteria or a virus. The most common antibody is called an IGG antibody to H. Pylori. The problem is that IGG is only indicative of exposure to H. Pylori, and doesn’t really give you any idea if there is an active infection, so with that test, you still have to correlate it to symptoms. Some labs will also do an IGA and an IGM antibody to H. Pylori, which often times you have to specifically request. Those are important because IGM is actually a marker of active immune activity or immune activity against an active infection. IGA is also part of the complex as well. IGA, IGM and IGG are the common bloodtests that are done for H. Pylori. There is also a breath test that can be done, but it’s difficult to do with kids, so its not frequently used. Some of the labs are doing stool testing for H. Pylori, and are looking for what are called antigen staining or an antigen test.
One of the labs I use is called Biohealth Diagnostics and they have a panel called 401 which is a stool pathogen panel. When you add the H. Pylori component to it, it’s called the 401 H, it not only becomes a great test for parasites, looking for things like giardia, cryptosporidium, blastocystis hominis, entamoeba histolytica, but it also has a stool antigen test for H. Pylori and that if a stool antigen is present, it’s very good evidence that H. Pylori active infection is present. I often will do that, as an add-on stool test for kids on the autism spectrum to look for the presence of H. Pylori and also to look for the presence of other parasites that maybe missed by other stool tests. Those typically are the major tests that are done; the blood testing, the breath testing and the stool testing. The ones that are most common in the autism community would certainly be doing stool testing and the blood testing as well. I realize with some kids, it’s difficult to get blood, so again, if your doctors only gonna run H. Pylori IGG, in my experience that’s not going to be enough. Ask them to at least do the IGM, the IGA antibody and better than that, add a stool H. Pylori antigen test as well.
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