Dr. Taylor Green N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR
4 min|Dr. Taylor Green

H Pylori & Your Skin – Could This Sneaky Bacteria Be Behind Your Chronic Skin Condition?

Wellness, Gut Health, Skin Health
With any skin condition, it is imperative to dig into the root cause of the issue since the skin is a direct representation of our internal health. It is well known that the state of our intestinal microbiome has a significant impact on our skin via the gut-skin immune and neurohormone interaction. Of particular interest is assessing for the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a gram-negative spiral-shaped bacterium that affects up to 50% of the population worldwide, and between approximately 20-30% of Canadians. It often goes undetected and may take months to years for symptoms to arise. Residing in the mucosal layer of the stomach or small intestine, it can cause a host of digestive issues such as indigestion, heart burn, bloating, pain, belching. It is also a main pathogenic variable in peptic ulcer disease, gastric lymphoma and carcinoma. Additionally, it has been linked to iron deficiency anemia, migraines, autoimmune diseases & chronic skin conditions. The bacteria produce an enzyme called urease that converts urea to ammonia, protecting the bacteria from our stomach acid. H pylori can then dig deeper into the gastric tissue and multiply, weakening the mucosal barrier of the stomach and intestines which then allows for irritation from bile and acids. The result is an increase in inflammation, leaky gut, and a progressive change in our gut microbiome. Surprising to many, H pylori is contagious via saliva and reinfection is common – often all members of a household should be tested and treated.

Growing research is shedding light on the connection between H pylori infection and the development of rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and chronic urticaria (hives) as a result of the bacterium’s influence on the immune system and inflammation. Numerous studies have shown dramatic improvements on skin conditions, such as rosacea, with proper H pylori treatment. If you are someone who has tried countless creams, steroids, lotions with only temporary or minimal improvement, assessing if H pylori is present is highly recommended. And no, you do not necessarily need to show digestive symptoms.

How To Test

Fortunately, there are several ways to test for H pylori infection. These include a urea breath test, stool testing, and blood antigen levels. All of which can be ordered by both a conventional or naturopathic physician. Generally, blood antigen testing is not preferred to detect active infection. More specialized functional gut tests, such as the GI Map, will also assess stool H Pylori levels, in additional to other markers of digestive health, inflammation and microbiome make up. Often H Pylori is not the culprit behind your skin issues! Insufficient healthy bacteria levels (think probiotics), candida & bacteria overgrowth, parasites, SFCAs and suboptimal digestive enzyme levels also play a pivotal role in our skin and overall health.

How To Treat

H Pylori can be a stubborn and difficult infection to treat. Course of therapy varies on the individual and may be treated using conventional options (proton pump inhibitors, multiple antibiotics as there is a high degree of H Pylori antibiotic resistance), or natural options using strong antimicrobial herbs, bismuth, biofilm disrupting agents, and dietary modifications. A combination approach can also be beneficial. A benefit of testing through the GI Map, is the test provides information on what specific antibiotic your particular strain of H pylori is sensitive to. This is ideal when antibiotics are warranted since one antibiotic can often then be used, rather than the conventional approach of using 2-3 antibiotics.

Working with a naturopathic doctor can discuss the pros and cons of each approach, while working to develop a comprehensive plan suited to your individual case. It’s time to get to the root of your skin condition, taking an inside out approach.

1. Guarneri C, Ceccarelli M, et al. (2020). Helicobacter pylori and skin disorders: A comprehensive review of the available literature. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Science, 24, 12267-12287
2. Lazaridou E, Korfitis C, Kemanetzi C, et al. Rosacea and Helicobacter pylori: links and risks. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2017; 10(10):305-310.
3. Loh, J. A., Kanani, A. S., & Stark, D. F. (2013). Prevalence of helicobacter pylori infection and chronic urticaria. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 131(2).
4. Utaş, S., Özbakir, Ö., Turasan, A., & Utaş, C. (1999). Helicobacter pylori eradication treatment reduces the severity of rosacea. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 40(3), 433–435.
5. Wong F, Rayner-Hartley E, Byrne MF. Extraintestinal manifestations of Helicobacter pylori: a concise review. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(34):11950-11961.

Take the first step towards a healthier you by scheduling a consultation with us today. Our experienced naturopathic practitioners, including Dr. Taylor Green are here to guide you through personalized solutions and help you get to the root cause of your health concerns.

Dr. Taylor Green N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR

Dr. Taylor Green

Dr. Taylor Green has always been fascinated by the intricacies of nature, the human body and health sciences. For her, health is not defined by the absence of disease, but the balance between mind, body, and environment.

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