Helicobacter pylori can be effectively eradicated by a one- to two-week course of antibiotics, bismuth subsalicylate and omeprazole (Losec).The Helicobacter pylori bacteria which lives in the stomach, gained prominence in 1983 when two Australian doctors found that it is a major cause of stomach ulcers and some types of stomach cancer. Eliminating H. pylori has become standard treatment for peptic ulcers and would also appear to be useful in the prevention of stomach cancer. Dr. Martin Blaser of the Department of Veterans Affairs now warns that a lack of H. pylori may be behind the recent increase in the incidence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett's esophagus, and esophageal cancer. Dr. Blaser points out that the human stomach and H. pylori have lived in harmony for millions of years. However, recently the incidence of H. pylori colonization has declined in the Western world because of, among other reasons, the excessive use of antibiotics in children. This decline has been accompanied by a substantial increase in GERD and esophageal cancer. GERD is uncommon in countries where most people are colonized ("infected") by H. pylori. Dr. Blaser believes that the most common strain of H. pylori (cag+) is protective against GERD, Barrett's esophagus, and esophageal cancer but can promote stomach ulcers and cancer. He believes H. pylori exerts its effect by regulating acid secretion in different parts of the stomach.
Blaser, Martin J. Hypothesis: The changing relationship of Helicobacter pylori and humans: implications for health and disease. Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol. 179, June 1999, pp.1523-30