How H. pylori Affects Your skin? Urticaria, Rash, Hives, & more. Doctor explains.

Our content is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice by your doctor. Use for informational purposes only.

 

What you need to know: 

 

H. pylori is linked to many skin (dermatological) diseases. However, the scientific evidence is still weak and conflicting.

The most common associations are:

  • Chronic spontaneous urticaria (hives): most researched with adequate evidence of association with H. pylori.
  • Rosacea.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Others as Henoch-schonlein purpura, atopic dermatitis, generalized pruritus (itching), Sjogren syndrome, sweet disease, systemic sclerosis, Behcet’s disease, nodular prurigo, Immune thrombocytopenic purpura, Lichen planus, and aphthous ulcers in the mouth.

1. Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria (Hives) and H. pylori.

What is chronic spontaneous urticaria?

Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) is the presence of urticaria (hives), angioedema, or both of them for a period of 6 weeks or more (1). 

  • Hives: are a type of rash with swollen pumps (often pale-red or skin-colored). Hives are short-living (appear and disappear rapidly). They also tend to turn white (blanch) if you press them. 
  • Angioedema: is similar to hives but the swelling occurs under the skin instead of on its surface. They can occur with or without hives.

Chronic spontaneous urticaria is common. You have a 1% chance of developing CUS throughout your life (2).

Symptoms of CSU:

  • CSU is more common in adults than in children, and more common in women than in men.
  • The episodic appearance of hives with or without angioedema (explained above).
  • when the skin hives and/or angioedema appears most days of the week for more than 6 weeks, then it is called (chronic spontaneous urticaria).
  • your doctor often diagnoses the disease based on characteristic findings, he may order some laboratory tests. A skin biopsy is usually NOT needed.
  • Recent research links the severity of CSU with the level of the H. pylori antibodies (3).

Below, some pictures of different skin rashes (hives) of chronic spontaneous urticaria that can be related to H. pylori.

H. Pylori-related chronic spontanous urticaria (skin hives or rahes)

The evidence of association with H. pylori:

There is too much research about the link between CUS (skin hives) and H. pylori. 

Most important insights from the research about H. pylori and skin hives (chronic spontaneous urticaria):

  • A 2015 meta-analysis of 16 studies found that people with H. pylori infection are 1.6 times more likely to develop chronic spontaneous urticaria (skin hives and/or angioedema) than non-infected individuals (4).
  • 13 out of the 16 analyzed studies found a positive association between H. pylori infection and the development of urticaria.
  • The meta-analysis concluded that the link is weak but significant. 
  • A 2004 Japanese study found that treatment of H. pylori results in significant improvement of CSU (skin hives) (5).
  • This improvement of urticaria after H. pylori treatment is further supported by a meta-analysis of 10 studies (6).
  • Some studies suggested that the severity of urticaria (hives) depends on the severity of H. pylori infection (7).

Chronic spontaneous urticaria association with H. pylori is still controversial. Based on the current Research evidence, Testing and treatment of H. pylori can potentially improve the symptoms of CSU. Discuss the issue with your doctor.

2. Rosacea and H. pylori.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic condition with a persistent central rash on the face with visible blood vessels. Rosacea mainly affects women in their middle age.

Existent treatments for Rosacea don’t cure the condition; they rather reduce or control the severity of the symptoms.

Symptoms:

  • Reddish face rash (flushing or blushing).
  • Visible small blood vessels under the skin of the face.
  • Bumps: Patients with rosacea can develop swollen pimples (some of them may contain pus).
  • The affected areas are hot and burning.
  • Sometimes it can affect the nose (enlargement) or the eyes (dry eyes).

Rosacea h. pylori

The link between H. pylori and Rosacea in research.

  • The link between H. pylori and Rosacea rash is still controversial.
  • Early studies found that H. pylori is more common in rosacea patients than in healthy people. This suggested that H. pylori may play a role in the disease (8)
  • A meta-analysis of 14 studies failed to find a significant association between H. pylori and the development of Rosacea (9).
  • The same meta-analysis failed to find a significant correlation between H. pylori treatment and the improvement in symptoms of rosacea.
  • A 2013 review study suggested that the improvement in rosacea may be due to the anti-inflammatory effects of antibiotics rather than H. pylori eradication (10).

Despite the conflicting evidence, the decision to treat H. pylori in patients with rosacea appears to be beneficial (or at least non-harmful).

3. Psoriasis and H. pylori.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease of the skin. it affects about 1-3% of people worldwide (11).

Insights from the research:

  • A 2012 study found that people with h. pylori have more severe forms of psoriasis compared to patients without H. pylori infection (12).
  • The same study found that H. pylori treatment increases the response to psoriasis treatment.
  • Several studies found that H. pylori infection is higher among psoriasis sufferers than in people without psoriasis (13, 14).
  • No large scale, well-designed clinical studies performed yet to confirm the association between H. pylori and psoriasis. Overall, the link is weak and we need more research. 

4. Others.

The below conditions are also linked to H. pylori, the research evidence is either very weak or controversial.

  • Henoch-schonlein purpura,
  • atopic dermatitis,
  • generalized pruritus (itching),
  • Sjogren syndrome,
  • sweet disease, systemic sclerosis,
  • Behcet’s disease,
  • nodular prurigo,
  • Immune thrombocytopenic purpura,
  • Lichen planus, and
  • aphthous ulcers in the mouth.

We will discuss the scientific evidence related to the above conditions in the upcoming articles.