Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection may contribute to rosacea, but more research is necessary to clarify the link between these conditions.

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes redness, flushing, and rash on the face. The redness typically appears on the cheeks and nose, but can spread to the forehead, chin, and other areas.

H. pylori is a common type of bacteria that can infect the stomach. It usually spreads from person to person through oral contact with stool, saliva, or vomit.

Infection with H. pylori can cause long-term inflammation in the stomach. While most people don’t have any symptoms, infection can lead to ulcers and gastritis.

Researchers have found an association between H. pylori and rosacea. Some evidence suggests H. pylori infection may play a role in the development of rosacea.

In this article, we explore the link between H. pylori and rosacea, including research, causes, and treatments.

Some research suggests H. pylori may play a role in the development of rosacea.

A 2018 review suggests that H. pylori contributes to rosacea as a result of tissue damage, increased nitrous oxide concentrations, and genetic factors, all of which can cause skin inflammation.

Another review found evidence that H. pylori is more common in people with rosacea compared to the general population.

The researchers suggested H. pylori may play a pathogenic role in the development of rosacea. Still, they concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

Other studies have found a weak association between the two conditions and not enough evidence to support any connection.

More research is necessary to clarify the link between H. pylori and rosacea.

Causes of rosacea

Researchers are still trying to understand what causes rosacea.

Possible causes include:

  • genetics
  • environmental stressors, such as ultraviolet light
  • a skin mite called Demodex
  • a protein called cathelicidin, which protects the skin from infection
  • H. pylori infection

While not direct causes, certain triggers may cause rosacea to flare up. Triggers can include:

  • sunlight exposure
  • stress
  • exercise
  • hot or cold weather
  • hot beverages
  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • spicy foods
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Most people who have an H. pylori infection have no symptoms.

In some cases, people may develop ulcers or gastritis due to the infection. Symptoms may include:

  • pain or discomfort in the upper belly
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • bloating
  • indigestion
  • loss of appetite
  • dark stools

Other possible complications can include iron deficiency anemia, stomach cancer, and a bleeding disorder known as immune thrombocytopenia.

Still, H. pylori infection is largely treatable, and most people don’t experience any symptoms.

Some evidence suggests that treating an H. pylori infection may help rosacea.

In a 2023 study, researchers examined 60 people with H. pylori infections and rosacea. They found that treating H. pylori infection was more effective than standard rosacea treatments, with 63.9% of people showing remission after treatment of the infection.

A 2018 review also found evidence that suggests anti-H. pylori therapy is more effective than routine therapy for rosacea.

Still, study results are mixed and more research is necessary.

According to American Family Physician guidelines, H. pylori treatment is not currently a standard treatment for rosacea. But doctors may use antibiotics to treat rosacea that doesn’t respond to initial therapy.

Currently, there is no cure for rosacea, but treatment can help manage symptoms.

Treatment for rosacea typically involves a combination of self-care and topical medications.

Self-care for rosacea can include:

  • avoiding triggers, such as using sunscreen when exposed to direct sunlight
  • practicing good skin care, such as using moisturizers and cleansers
  • using makeup to cover patches of red skin
  • keeping the eyelids clean

Healthcare professionals typically prescribe topical medications as initial therapy. They can include creams or gels such as:

For more severe rosacea that doesn’t respond to initial therapy, doctors may prescribe oral antibiotics. Options include:

Other treatments that can reduce redness and flushing include oral medications, such as clonidine and beta-blockers, and laser and intense pulsed light treatment.

Some people with rosacea may experience thickened skin on the nose. In severe cases, surgical treatment can remove excess tissue.

If rosacea affects the eyes, you may need treatments such as eye drops or ointment.

Research suggests that there’s an association between H. pylori and rosacea.

H. pylori infection is common in people with rosacea. Some studies have shown that treating the infection can lead to rosacea remission.

Still, there isn’t enough evidence to determine whether H. pylori causes rosacea. More research on the link between these conditions is necessary.

In most cases, you can manage rosacea with self-care and topical medications. Talk with your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of rosacea or H. pylori infection.