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H Pylori Controversy in Rosacea

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Copyright 2010 • All Rights Reserved • July 2010 by Brady Barrows

Artist Depiction of H Pylori

H Pylori (Helicobacter Pylori) has been a controversy with rosacea for some time now.  Some experts dismiss H Pylori’s role in rosacea and yet it remains a controversy since other rosacea experts continue to discuss H Pylori as a possible factor in rosacea. A report in January 2010 states that “Helicobacter pylori infection is implicated in the pathogenesis of extradigestive diseases such as acne rosacea…” A report by Mc Leer, Lacey and Powell in 2009 listed H Pylori as a possible factor in the pathophysiology in rosacea. One report in 2003 suggests “some form of relationship between rosacea and H. pylori infection.” Two reports in 1996 suggested H Pylori’s role in rosacea with titles such as “Eradication of Helicobacter pylori as the only successful treatment in rosacea” and “Acne rosacea and Helicobacter pylori betrothed.” Rebora suggested in 1995 that the “role of H. pylori is more probable in erythrotic rosacea than in its papulopustular and granulomatous stages.” [1] These are just a few reports suggesting H Pylori as a factor in rosacea.

When you consider the fact that H Pylori was ‘officially’ discovered in 1986 by Drs Marshall and Warren in Australia who both won the Nobel Prize in 2005 for this discovery and changed the textbooks about how bacteria can survive in the human stomach and its relation to ulcers and other gastric problems and the fact that this gram negative bacteria is considered an infection that half the world’s population is carrying with most being totally asymptomatic it is a wonder that anyone can even connect H Pylori with rosacea at all.  Yet the reports on H Pylori and rosacea keep coming out despite the fact that many reports negate H Pylori’s role in rosacea.

While there are many older reports suggesting H Pylori having some role in rosacea, newer reports dismiss this role. For instance, the late Dr. Kligman noted H Pylori’s controversial role in rosacea in his 2003 report. [2]

A report released in 2002 mentions ‘promising recent reports of beneficial H. pylori eradication’ in many cutaneous skin diseases except rosacea. [3]

A study published in May 2010 concluded, “There is no association between Helicobacter pylori infection and rosacea in current study.” [4]

Nevertheless, there are reports of H Pylori associated with rosacea indicating that eradicating H Pylori clears rosacea and discuss the possible cutaneous pathology of H Pylori to an autoimmune mechanism. A report in 2009 says, a “few case reports have documented associations between Helicobacter pylori infection and rosacea.” [5]

What is H Pylori and how does it relate to rosacea?

H Pylori is a gram negative bacteria that is considered an infection and harmful to humans.

According to one report, “more than 50% of the human population have long-term Helicobacter pylori infection.” [3] Wikipedia says that the diagnosis of H Pylori is done with different tests that are not failsafe and sometimes results in false positives.  How anyone can know for sure that 50% of the human population is infected with H Pylori is quite suspect. The percentage of ‘infection’ of H Pylori, if indeed it is an infection, may be more or less than 50% .

According to Wikipedia, “Helicobacter pylori is a Gram-negative, microaerophilic bacterium that can inhabit various areas of the stomach, particularly the antrum. It causes a chronic low-level inflammation of the stomach lining and is strongly linked to the development of duodenal and gastric ulcers and stomach cancer. Over 80% of individuals infected with the bacterium are asymptomatic.”

So, if 80% of individuals are asymptomatic and they only discovered H Pylori in 1986 how do they know that H Pylori is a human pathogen?  There is an amusing article, “So, What’s Your Problem with Gram-Negative Bacteria??,” that gets you thinking. Do you really think that medical science knows everything about H Pylori in a little over twenty years?  Obviously sometimes H Pylori is a human pathogen and runs amuck causing us problems. But in 80% of individuals H Pylori is asymptomatic and obviously is in the stomach for some reason, possibly for some nefarious purpose such as an ulcer, but it is quite possible for some beneficial purpose as well.  Could it be possible that a gram negative bacteria serves some useful purpose that as yet hasn’t been discovered? For instance, E. coli can help people and animals to digest food and help in providing vitamins but sometimes runs amuck causing some serious food poisoning. Could H Pylori have some beneficial yet undiscovered function for humans yet sometimes cause issues like E. coli does?

Could H Pylori be asymptomatic because it is helping us for some reason yet undiscovered, and sometimes for some yet undiscovered reason turns into a monster that causes problems like ulcers and rosacea?

SIBO has been associated with rosacea with gram negative bacteria associated with it such as H Pylori. One report says, “Gastric acid suppresses the growth of ingested bacteria, thereby limiting bacterial counts in the upper small intestine. Diminished acid production (hypochlorhydria) is arisk factor for SIBO, and can develop after colonization with Helicobacter pylori or as a consequence of aging. [6]

Gram Negative Folliculitis, a rosacea mimic, is an acne condition caused by Gram-negative organisms which usually develops in patients who have received systemic antibiotics for prolonged periods. This is quite odd when you consider that eradicating H Pylori, a gram negative bacterium, clears rosacea in some cases. This certainly raises some questions about using long term antibiotic treatment for rosacea, doesn’t it?

Since eradicating H Pylori involves the use of antibiotics it would be difficult to really know if the H Pylori is truly a factor in rosacea since antibiotics have been used for many years to successfully treat rosacea.  If it were possible to eradicate H Pylori without using antibiotics and rosacea clears up, then, there would be some substantial evidence of H Pylori being a factor in rosacea

According to Wikipedia, “The standard first-line therapy is a one week “triple therapy” consisting of a proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole, Lansoprazole and the antibiotics clarithromycin and amoxicillin. Variations of the triple therapy have been developed over the years…” Since antibiotics are usually used in the eradication of H Pylori you can see why it would be difficult to know whether the clearing of rosacea is due to the eradication of the H Pylori or simply because antibiotics have been used successfully to treat rosacea for over fifty years.

Nevertheless, there are anecdotal reports that treatment for gastric problems has cleared rosacea.

For instance, one anecdotal report suggests that after treating a patient with gastritis and evidence of GERD that the rosacea cleared. [7]  According to Wikipedia, “In 1999, a review of existing studies found that, on average, 40% of GERD patients also had H Pylori infection. The eradication of H. pylori can lead to an increase in acid secretion, leading to the question of whether H. pylori-infected GERD patients are any different than non-infected GERD patients.  A double-blind study, reported in 2004, found no clinically significant difference between these two types of patients with regard to the subjective or objective measures of disease severity.

A few other anecdotal reports have suggested digestive issues related to their rosacea. [8]

There may be other anecdotal reports suggesting H Pylori eradication clears rosacea which I plan on adding to this page. If you have thoughts on this subject I suggest you post them here. There is a long thread on the SIBO ROSACEA LINK at R-F that is interesting to read if you have the time.

Sources

[1] Helicobacter pylori infection and autoimmune disease such as immune thrombocytopenic purpura
Ohta M.
Kansenshogaku Zasshi. 2010 Jan;84(1):1-8

The pathophysiology of rosacea.
Mc Aleer MA, Lacey N, Powell FC
G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2009 Dec;144(6):663-71.

Helicobacter pylori and rosacea.
Zandi S, Shamsadini S, Zahedi MJ, Hyatbaksh M
East Mediterr Health J. 2003 Jan-Mar;9(1-2):167-71.

Eradication of Helicobacter pylori as the only successful treatment in rosacea
Kolibásová K, Tóthová I, Baumgartner J, Filo V.
Arch Dermatol. 1996 Nov;132(11):1393.

Acne rosacea and Helicobacter pylori betrothed
Wolf R.
Int J Dermatol. 1996 Apr;35(4):302-3

May Helicobacter pylori be important for dermatologists?
Rebora A, Drago F, Parodi A.
Dermatology. 1995;191(1):6-8

[2] A Personal Critique on the State of Knowledge of Rosacea
Albert M. Kligman, M.D., Ph.D.

[3] Helicobacter pylori infection in skin diseases: a critical appraisal.
Wedi B, Kapp A.
Am J Clin Dermatol. 2002;3(4):273-82.

[4] Risk factors associated with rosacea.
Abram K, Silm H, Maaroos HI, Oona M.
J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010 May;24(5):565-71. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

[5] Helicobacter pylori infection and dermatologic diseases.
HERNANDO-HARDER AC, BOOKEN N, GOERDT S, SINGER MV, HARDER H.
Eur J Dermatol. 2009 Sep-Oct;19(5):431-44. Epub 2009 Jun 15.

[6] Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth: A Comprehensive Review
Andrew C. Dukowicz, MD, Brian E. Lacy, PhD, MD, and Gary M. Levine, MD
Gastroenterology & Hepatology Volume 3, Issue 2 February 2007

[7] ice2meetyu’s report July 4, 2010

[8] Rosacea and digestive problems

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6 Responses to “H Pylori Controversy in Rosacea”


  1. Chana Hanekamp
    on Dec 19th, 2011
    @ 8:55 am

    My skin is getting ichy and red spots, are these acne or are they just rashes.


  2. admin
    on Dec 19th, 2011
    @ 9:45 am

    You should see a dermatologist since internet diagnosis is not a good idea. There are a number of rosacea mimics which the dermatologist needs to differentiate from rosacea or acne. For more info.


  3. Slamm Scooter
    on Jan 4th, 2012
    @ 4:23 am

    Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I?ll be subscribing on your rss feed and I’m hoping you write again soon!


  4. cisono
    on Aug 31st, 2012
    @ 9:48 am

    “Since eradicating H Pylori involves the use of antibiotics it would be difficult to really know if the H Pylori is truly a factor in rosacea since antibiotics have been used for many years to successfully treat rosacea. If it were possible to eradicate H Pylori without using antibiotics and rosacea clears up, then, there would be some substantial evidence of H Pylori being a factor in rosacea”

    What do you mean?

    It is very CERTAINLY POSSIBLE to clear H. Pylori without antibiotics.

    It took me nearly a year but I did it with herbs and diet modification. H. Pylori infection was confirmed beforehand, doctor prescribed the usual triple therapy (which I didn’t take as I am all too aware of problems antibiotics cause), I took my supplements and changed my diet for months, then got retested a year later “et voila’”, no H.Pylori anymore. I can now even drink two coffees a day if I wish and no heartburn or gastric symptoms whatsoever.


  5. admin
    on Jan 30th, 2013
    @ 9:12 pm

    I am mostly posting at irosacea.org – the RRDi web site which is non profit. Check it out.


  6. admin
    on Jan 30th, 2013
    @ 9:13 pm

    Good for you. Thanks for your post.

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