A recent meta-analysis by researchers at the University of Copenhagen found a weak, statistically non-significant association between rosacea and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a type of bacteria that can be found in the stomach.
The study reviewed results from 14 past studies, encompassing 928 rosacea patients and 1,527 people without rosacea. Analysis showed that 56 percent of rosacea patients were infected with H. pylori while 49 percent of control patients were infected, demonstrating a weak but non-significant association between rosacea and the bacteria. A stronger association was found in a subset of studies in which H. pylori was detected through a breath test rather than a blood test.
Seven of the 14 studies examined included data on the effect of H. pylori infection on rosacea symptoms. A weak, non-significant tendency toward improvement of rosacea symptoms was observed in patients who had received antibiotic therapy for H. pylori.
There were several important limitations to this study -- a low number of patients were included, and there was no information provided about whether subjects had previously received treatment for H. pylori infection or used antibiotic therapy for rosacea. This study was unable to differentiate between different strains of H. pylori which might have led to different results.
Past studies have identified significant associations between rosacea and gastrointestinal diseases. It’s been theorized that H. pylori infection could cause some GI diseases, or may represent a proxy for other associated lifestyle factors, pathogenic bacteria or underlying inflammation. However, the researchers noted that the results of this study fail to prove or disprove this theory, and more research is necessary to determine if there is a relationship between rosacea and H. pylori.
Jørgensen AR, Egeberg A, Gideonsson R, et al. Rosacea is associated with Helicobacter pylori: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2017 May 23. doi: 10.1111/jdv.14352