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Gastroesophageal reflux is the term for what happens when part of the stomach’s contents – especially highly acidic gastric juices - travel back up the oesophagus. This disorder causes what is referred to as heartburn (though it is actually oesophagus burn). If it persists over the long-term, the consequences can be more serious: since the oesophagus wall is unable to withstand the acidity, it results in chronic inflammation with the potential for more serious damage (particularly ulcers).
Gut flora, or intestinal microbiota, describes the collection of microorganisms that live in the intestines and stomach. While they play an essential role in the body’s digestion and defences, some of these microorganisms may also be responsible for persistent problems such as the microbial strain Helicobacter pylori.
What is Helicobacter pylori infection?
This bacteria lives exclusively in the human stomach and is the only known bacteria able to survive and grow in such an acid environment. It is thought that 80% of gastro-duodenal ulcers are caused by H. pylori infections, even though in most cases (70-80%), the infection is asymptomatic. Over the long term, however, it induces a range of symptoms such as fatigue and chronic gastric discomfort, as well as chronic inflammation of the stomach and diseases such as stomach cancer – indeed it is believed to be responsible for 60-90% of gastric cancers. Given these estimates, it is possible th ...
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