If you’ve been treating your H pylori for some time now without any real results, you might need to take a step back and try these four tips to help make your next H pylori treatment successful.
H pylori is notoriously difficult to get rid of. And, unfortunately, that’s likely because most practitioners are stopping at just treating the overgrowth.
When in reality, there is so much more work that needs to be done under the surface to make H pylori treatment successful.
In this blog post you’ll learn:
- If you’re a good candidate for trying these four steps before your next H pylori treatment
- The four steps to increasing your chances of having a successful H pylori treatment
- How to dig deeper to uncover what might be keeping your H pylori and upper GI symptoms from improving
If you’ve been struggling with H pylori for a while now, or if you’ve just been diagnosed, this information will be so important on your healing journey.
Should You Take a Break Before Your Next H Pylori Treatment?
H pylori is an invasive bacteria that resides in your stomach. These bacteria can be commensal (meaning they don’t cause any issues to the host – that’s you!), but in most people with upper GI symptoms (like reflux, burping, nausea, heartburn, etc.) H pylori is the main culprit.
For some people, H pylori treatment works like it’s supposed to the very first time. But for most H pylori sufferers, once the treatment is over, the symptoms come back and we’re starting back at square one.
If that second scenario sounds like you, it’s probably time to take a break from treating your H pylori, take a step back, and work on healing your gut and preparing your body to handle another round of treatment.
If your gut health is not robust enough, even the most amazingly crafted H pylori protocol won’t work. And if the rest of your body systems are struggling, you won’t be able to truly recover, and you’ll likely fall into that relapse cycle.
So, before jumping into your next round of H pylori treatment, let’s take a breath and try some new strategies.
Four Steps for Increasing the Success of Your Next H Pylori Treatment
Now that, hopefully, we’re both on the same page about diving deeper than just treating the H pylori infection, it’s time to discuss exactly how you should start doing that.
You likely didn’t just wake up one day and develop and H pylori infection that caused your intense upper GI symptoms. It may have felt like that with those symptoms crashing down after every meal, but H pylori is likely just a surface symptom of a bigger issue going on in your gut and body as a whole.
So, if we just stop at treating that surface symptom, we’re never going to fully address what’s going on, and you’ll likely stay on this treatment bandwagon for a while.
Here are four simple steps you can start today to help increase the success of your next H pylori treatment.
Step 1: Improve Your Digestion
One side effect of having H pylori is that the bacteria actually decrease your stomach’s ability to secrete stomach acid (HCL). And without enough HCL, your body isn’t able to effectively chemically break down the food you eat into small particles that can then be absorbed efficiently in the small intestine.
This can leave you susceptible to nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, and a host of other issues just because your body isn’t able to get the nutrients and calories out of the food you’re eating.
While getting rid of the H pylori infection is the best way to recover this decreased stomach acid, there are some things you can do in the meantime.
Working on these will not only help you improve your digestive capabilities, but it can help give your body more energy and vitality so it can better fight that H pylori infection and help make your treatment successful!
Here are some steps you can take to help improve your digestion before your next H pylori treatment:
- Pause and do some deep breathing before eating
- Chew thoroughly
- Use digestive bitters
These (free or inexpensive) ways to help improve your digestion with H pylori can really make a difference in both the effectiveness of treatment and how you feel during and after.
Step 2: Support Your Liver
Liver support is my absolute favorite thing to talk about when we’re working to make H pylori treatment more successful.
Your liver does a lot of work. And when you’re dealing with bacterial overgrowths and taking supplements to try and kill them all, your liver’s to-do list gets even longer.
When bacteria die off, they aren’t too happy about it so they release toxins. These toxins then either hang around in your body making you feel even worse, or get mopped up and excreted thanks in part mostly to your liver.
So, treating your liver like the MVP that it is can go a long way in giving your body some breathing room during your next H pylori treatment.
Here are some simple ways you can help to give your liver some TLC:
- Use Castor Oil Packs: placing a flannel cloth saturated with castor oil and a heating pad over your liver can help to keep the lymph and fluid flowing in that organ. This is critical when your liver is hard at work and there’s a lot of junk in there to slow things down. Here is the done-for-you castor oil pack kit that I use to make this messy process a little more simple. (and code NINJA10 gets you 10% off!)
- Eat Bitter Foods: bitter foods like grapefruit (if tolerated) and dark leafy greens are your liver’s best friends. These foods help to boost liver function and keep everything flowing smoothly.
- Hydrate: here’s another reason to keep hydrated during the day. Your liver will love you forever, and be able to better package up those toxins if your body’s cells are properly hydrated.
- Try Coffee Enemas: coffee enemas sound super intimidating (confession, I’ve never actually done one), but they can be amazing tools to help stimulate a sluggish liver and increase its ability to detoxify efficiently. If your liver is overburdened, coffee enemas can help decrease that burden and help your liver catch up. Here’s a good enema kit to get you started, and make sure you use organic coffee that’s been tested for mold!
Step 3: Boost Your Gut Health
If you have H pylori, it’s likely that your gut health isn’t in its best shape. These bacteria live in your stomach and tend to wreck havoc and decrease your stomach acid.
This lower stomach acid then trickles down to the rest of your gut – making it more difficult to digest your food and creating microbial imbalance in your intestines.
Gut infections both contribute to and are a result of poor gut health. So it’s critical that we step in and intervene in this cycle of poor gut health – it will benefit both your gut and your ability to get rid of any gut infections like H pylori.
Improving your gut health isn’t as quick a fix as some of these other steps, but it’s well worth your efforts.
Here are some ways you can get started improving your gut health:
- Identify and Treat Other Gut Infections: If you have other bacterial imbalances and infections going on besides SIBO, you’re going to need to address those first. Working with a functional practitioner (like me!) is the best way to figure out what else is going on AND get a plan in place for removing it.
- Strengthen the Mucosal Barrier: your gut’s mucosal barrier is the interface between the rest of your body and the outside world. So if it’s leaky or isn’t functioning at its best, you’re going to feel the effects of your environment a lot more (cue food intolerances, systemic inflammation, brain fog, etc.). Improving the health of your mucosal barrier is so important to getting your gut back in balance and clearing your H pylori. My favorite mucosal barrier support supplement is Just Thrive’s Ultimate IgG – and you can use code NinjaJT for 15% off.
- Lower Inflammation: If your body is chronically inflamed, you’re using a bunch of resources to try and tame that issue. So doing everything you can to lower that inflammatory burden can go a long way in improving your gut health and your body’s ability to deal with issues like H pylori. The best thing you can do to lower inflammation is to eliminate highly inflammatory foods from your diet. These would be the big offenders like gluten, dairy, and sugar.
Improving your gut health can take time. And digging deeper with a practitioner might be what’s necessary, especially if you’ve been going at it for awhile on your own without seeing much progress.
Step 4: Reduce Stress
Stress is the root of most (if not all) health complaints.
And if you’ve been dealing with H pylori and upper GI symptoms for some time, it’s likely that your body is under a lot of stress – between the symptoms, your food restrictions, and simply the mental toll that dealing with a chronic illness can take.
So, if you’ve been around the H pylori treatment block a few times, taking a step back and managing your stressors can do wonders for your ability to fight off this bacteria and can help make your next H pylori treatment successful! Not to mention improve the health and vitality of the rest of your body.
Here are some simple ways to reduce stress:
- Avoid Inflammatory Foods: and here’s another reason to get those inflammation-causing foods out of your diet – because they’re stressful and adding to that chronic stress burden your body has to deal with. Besides removing the big offenders, trying to take note of the foods you seem to react poorly to and removing those from your diet for a time can be a great help too.
- Sleep 7-9 Hours a Night: Sleep is key when it comes to reducing stress. If you’re not sleeping well, your body is stressed, period. My biggest tips for improving sleep quality and quantity are to up your sleep hygiene game. This means, keeping your room cool, dark, and quiet. And to do that I recommend setting your thermostat for around 69 degrees Fahrenheit, using an eye mask to block out any light, and using ear plugs to keep out any noise.
- Get Restorative Movement: exercise, when done correctly, is a big way to help manage stress. But, instead of trying intense cardio and HIIT classes, which can actually increase stress, start with some light walking, strength training, yoga, and pilates.
- Implement a Breathwork practice: Breathwork is a highly effective way of breathing that helps to engage your parasympathetic side of your autonomic nervous system (think “rest-and-digest”). Teaching your body to create balance in its autonomic nervous system through controlling your breath can be extremely helpful when dealing with unavoidable stressful situations in your daily life.
What to Do if H pylori Treatment Still Isn’t Working
If you’ve dialed in all of these steps, and you’re still struggling to keep your H pylori away for good, it might be time to dig a little deeper.
There are so many root causes of H pylori, and if they’re not addressed, treating H pylori alone will be like trying to patch the tires of a car with the check engine light on – it’ll work for a little bit, but eventually things will just start to break down.
If that’s the case for you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
And if you’ve determined you need more help tackling your H pylori and upper GI symptoms, I’d love to help! As a certified FDN-P, I’ve got a bunch of tools in my tool belt to help you identify what’s going on under the hood and get a plan in place to start treating it, and eventually getting rid of your H pylori. You can fill out an application, here, to become a new one-on-one client!