Antibiotic overuse worsens digestive diseases: experts hinh anh 1Doctors at the Binh Dan Hospital in HCM City perform the first gastric cancer operation using robots on a 54-year-old male patient last March (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)  - The over-prescription of antibiotics caused a common gastrointestinal bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance, experts said at a recent conference on digestion held by Bach Mai Hospital and the Japanese Nagoya University in Hanoi.

A recent study in Hanoi showed that about 70 percent of Vietnamese are infected with H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori), a type of bacteria that can increase the risk of cancer, especially gastric cancer. The bacteria were also found in 90 percent of patients with gastritis in Ho Chi Minh City, according to research.

At the conference, experts said it is essential to eliminate the bacteria in patients with stomach and duodenum ulcers to reduce the risks of medical complications, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and perforation and gastric cancer.

They also noted that it is a relatively common type of bacteria that can be found in 50 percent of the world’s total population, and only 1 to 3 percent of those infected will have cancer, depending on their genes and the bacteria’s toxins.

Although infection with H. pylori is not life-threatening, treating it in Vietnam has become more difficult due to patients’ overuse of antibiotics and non-compliance with prescribed antibiotic instructions, said Dr Vu Truong Khanh, head of the Department of Digestion at Bach Mai Hospital.

“Their improper use of antibiotics has led to high rates of antibiotic resistance,” he said. “Some types of antibiotics that worked on 90 percent of H. pylori patients in some countries are only effective to 50 to 60 percent  of those patients in Vietnam.”

Stress and imbalanced diets create changes in the human body that facilitate the activities of these bacteria, leading to the secretion of substances that can cause gastric mucosal congestion, he said.

H. pylori infected patients should avoid eating sour, spicy foods and raw vegetables—these can create favourable living environments for the bacteria—use turmeric products for their anticancer effects and only drink purified water, he said.

An average of 3,000 cirrhosis patients receive inpatient treatment at the Bach Mai Hospital due to excessive consumption of alcohol each year, which is an alarming change from a decade ago when cirrhosis was mostly caused by viral infections, Khanh said.

Liver cancer is the second-most common type of cancer in both genders in Vietnam, after lung cancer, according to official statistics, and the death rate is 23.7 percent.

Liver failure is another pressing issue, caused by excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and continuous use of medications such as paracetamol (used to treat pain and fever), halothane (a general anesthetic), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, according to statistics. An average of 50 to 90 percent of patients with acute liver failure die if not treated properly and not receiving liver transplants.

Eating vegetables, fresh fruits and herbs to provide vitamins and antioxidants for the body is one way to protect the liver, doctors said.

Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and processed foods should be avoided, while daily physical exercises and periodical medical examination are encouraged, they said.-VNA