Helicobacter pylori infection

What Is Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) Infection?

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, is a common type of bacterial infection that affects the stomach and the intestines. It is estimated that around one-half of the world’s population is infected with this bacterium and it is highly contagious. H. pylori infection can lead to serious health problems such as peptic ulcers, nausea, and vomiting.

What Causes H. Pylori Infection?

H. pylori infection is usually spread from one person to another when an infected person’s saliva or skin particles come into contact with another person’s skin or saliva. Eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water can also lead to infection.

Symptoms of H. Pylori Infection

Common symptoms of H. pylori infection include stomach pain, nausea, burning sensation in the upper abdomen, bloating, burping, and vomiting. In persons with weakened immune systems or complications, more serious symptoms such as bleeding may occur.

Diagnosing H. Pylori Infection

A diagnosis of H. pylori infection is usually made through a combination of tests such as blood tests, breath tests, stool tests, and biopsy of the stomach wall. Some of these tests may be done in a laboratory, while others can be done at home.

Preparation for H. Pylori Testing

Most H. pylori tests require the patient to fast for a specified length of time, usually 8 to 12 hours, and to avoid taking medications prior to the test. The doctor may also request the patient to alter their diet in a certain way and to avoid taking antibiotics while the test is being done.

Treatment of H. Pylori Infection

The treatment of H. pylori infection depends on its severity. Mild cases of H. pylori infections can be treated with antibiotics, while more severe cases may require a combination of antibiotics, antacids, and other medications to help reduce the inflammation caused by the infection. Surgery may be necessary in extreme cases.

Risks of H. Pylori Infection

In some cases, an untreated or inadequately treated H. pylori infection can have serious health consequences. Prolonged H. pylori infections can lead to peptic ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and even stomach cancer in some cases.

When To Seek Medical Care for H. Pylori Infection?

If you experience any of the classic symptoms of H. pylori infection, such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or burning sensation in the abdomen, you should seek medical attention right away. Prompt medical treatment can help reduce the risk of more serious health problems later on.