Description:  Systematic water testing to identify H. pylori can help prevent an infection being caused by your drinking water.

In these times of excessive stress and uncertainty – special thanks to a global pandemic that won’t go away – anxious feelings can begin to manifest within our bodies. That manifestation often goes straight to our stomachs, expressing itself in many ways from annoying bloating, to burning pain, and even ulcers that can rupture. But how do we know if the culprit at play is a mild and temporary reaction to everything going on around us, or at the other end of the spectrum, a serious infection with the potential to make us very sick in the long run?

When things just don’t seem right and we feel out of control, there are actions we can take to regain a sense of power. We can increase our knowledge and awareness of what’s happening around us and what’s going on with our bodies. We can also use a process of elimination to rule out common troublemakers that may be at work, including infections and viruses going around. With that being said, we want to help people identify, and hopefully eliminate, one common offender recently causing an uptick of concern when it comes to stomach issues. Meet Helicobacter pylori, more commonly known as H. pylori.

What the heck is H. pylori?

Common across the United States, this vicious bacterial infection causes 75 percent of stomach ulcers. When people are exposed, they are commonly plagued by stomach and duodenum ulcers, including peptic ulcers. The problem is, they may not realize they’re infected with H. pylori for years, unless tested for it by their doctor. If that’s not frightening enough, the WHO has classified H. pylori bacteria as low-potential carcinogens, aka cancer-causing substances, and in the U.S. it’s been known to cause two types of stomach cancer.

What happens when H. pylori invades?

Again, H. pylori can infect our bodies with years of damage before we even experience symptoms. When they do, it’s often a result of their devastation upon our protective stomach and small intestine lining. We can expect abdominal discomfort, often a dull, ongoing ache for days or even weeks due to inflammation in the stomach lining. H. pylori infections also incite heartburn, bloating, more burping than usual, and weight loss. Poor appetite, nausea, and vomiting can also occur. Symptoms are most unbearable on an empty stomach but can be temporarily relieved with antacids or milk.

How is H. pylori transmitted?

In many ways, H. pylori transmission is still somewhat of a mystery. It’s thought to be passed person-to-person through saliva, vomit, or fecal matter. But research has also found the bacteria to be spread through contaminated food or water. Epidemiological studies indicate water as a source of H. pylori infection, not limited to, but especially evidenced in those relying on well water. Researchers have actually discovered H. pylori bacteria in 65 percent of private well water samples and 75 percent of surface water tests.

Can I test my water for H. pylori?

Absolutely. In fact, there’s been a recent spike in test requests for H. pylori, likely due to today’s environment of ongoing high stress. Although research is mixed, there is strong evidence that stress can cause similar gastritis events without H. pylori present. Fortunately, should these symptoms arise, we can ensure our water is not to blame. Systematic water testing to identify H. pylori, ideally preventing an infection being caused by your drinking water, can bring peace of mind. Particularly for those relying on well water, the high presence of H. pylori in water testing indicates regular sampling is an effective way to detect this nasty invader when it uses water as its transportation.

When uncertainty strikes, don’t waste time worrying unnecessarily; get the answers you need. It’s easy to get your drinking water tested with AquaKnow’s fast, reliable, and affordable tests. Our experts are trained on current regulations, testing methods, and we offer informed recommendations. It’s as simple as a consultation, using our water sample collection kit, returning it, and we handle the rest. When you have questions about your water safety, we’re here for you. Click here to learn more.