The ulcer of the stomach, contrary to popular belief, is very rarely due to stress. Doctors have long known a secret that the general public continues to ignore. In 70 to 80% of cases, the ulcer is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium with a strange name: Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium would also be responsible for stomach cancer.
It's not really a scoop, but it's true that information sometimes goes wrong. Little flashback. We are in the 80s. The stomach ulcer is the nightmare of the sick who suffer hell, doctors who know a little relieve by drugs against acidity, but not cure because the disease recurrence regularly. Each time a little more serious, and surgeons who, at the end of the chain, do not stop taking off pierced stomachs, in the midst of cataclysmic digestive haemorrhages.
An infection of the stomach
A picture not exaggerated, which almost 40 years later is a medieval disease. In the meantime the great intuition of two Australian doctors, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, who imagined, that the stomach was not attacked by its own acidic secretions but by a microbe.
We knew that it existed in many stomachs but we did not know its role. We had never been able to reproduce it. The most important discoveries still leave the part to chance and it is by forgetting samples in the incubator 6 days instead of 2 that Barry Marshall found himself with thousands of bacteria.
To serve as a guinea pig
Remained to convince a reluctant medical opinion, especially since the Australians were two characters, we say atypical (and not folk) as the mandarins of the time liked to repeat, and a laboratory opposed the validation of this fact by the scientific community, in order to continue selling its anti-ulcer.
Faced with this intolerable skepticism, Marshall decides to serve as a guinea pig by swallowing a glass full of these famous microbes. Verification, before and after, before ushers and the demonstration of a damaged stomach. We are in 1983.
At the end ... the Nobel Prize!
It will take years for the scientific community to accept its bad faith and for the patients to benefit from this brilliant discovery and its courageous demonstration: the possibility of being permanently rid of a peptic ulcer thanks to a simple antibiotic treatment!
Science is generally less grateful than the general public. Our two Australians will have to wait 20 years to be recognized, this time unanimously, which makes laugh these two endearing characters.
The microbe responsible is called Helicobacter Pylori, because this bacterium has a helix shape. She loves to grow in an acid bath and is therefore very well in the stomach.
It develops an infection that creates inflammation of the wall and eventually an ulcer. An infection that is treated with a combination of 2 antibiotics that are extremely effective. We add protective drugs of the stomach, well known and very prescribed, to promote their effectiveness and voila. This is why there are almost no serious ulcers as before and there is almost no surgery to remove the stomach either. This is one of the most spectacular advances in medicine.
The most common cause
In 70 to 80% of ulcers, this infection is responsible. In other cases, it is certain drugs that provoke them; very used stars. For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are taken for rheumatic pains, for teeth for fever. It may also be aspirin ... These products can cause heartburn, but also give painless ulcers that will be revealed by a complication, a digestive hemorrhage. In France, there are 20 to 30 000 digestive haemorrhages a year due to these drugs. This is why they should always be taken with a gastric protector when one is at risk, even for a very short treatment.
Gastro-Esophageal Reflux (GERD)
When one feels stomach burns, when one has belching, difficult digestion, it is not - as many people fear - an ulcer, but rather what is called a reflux. gastro-oesophageal.
In general it is not very serious and your doctor will tell you perfectly a few simple rules to make it disappear. And if it is not the case, it has many weapons at its disposal to relieve you.
About 80% of the stomach cancer is caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which colonize the lining of the stomach and cause chronic infection in the infected person, which persists for life if not present. not treated.
Most often, it evolves without any particular symptoms even if it is the first cause of peptic ulcer. It can be treated with an antibiotic, especially to avoid developing stomach cancer.
Helicobacter pylori infection affects 20 to 50% of the French population but it would cause the development of stomach cancer in less than 1% of cases. This risk is greater when there is a family history (father / mother, brother / sister, child) of stomach cancer.