Helicobacter Pylori Infection
( H. Pylori Infection)
DefinitionHelicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that can infect the stomach and intestines. It can lead to:
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CausesThis condition occurs when an infected person passes the bacteria to someone else. The bacteria are spread through:
- Fecal-oral contact
- Oral-oral contact
Risk FactorsFactors that increase your risk of h. pylori infection include being in:
- Close contact with an infected person
- A crowded and unsanitary living environment
SymptomsIn most cases, there are not any symptoms. However, if someone develops an ulcer or gastritis, symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain that may:
- Awaken you from sleep
- Change when you eat
- Last for a few minutes or several hours
- Feel like unusually strong hunger pangs
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Black, tarry, or bloody stools
- Vomiting blood
DiagnosisYour doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Tests may include:
- Blood tests
- Stool test
- Endoscopy—a thin, lighted tube inserted down your throat to look inside your stomach and to take tissue samples for testing
- Urea breath test—a test that can help detect if there is a current infection
TreatmentTalk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Your doctor may recommend:
- Antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection
- H-2 blockers
- Proton pump inhibitors
PreventionTo reduce your chances of getting h. pylori infection, take these steps:
- Wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.
- Drink water from a safe source.
- Do not smoke. Smoking increases the chance of getting an ulcer.
The American College of Gastroenterology
American Gastroenterological Association
Ontario Association of Gastroenterology
Helicobacter pylori. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/aip/research/hp.html. Accessed April 12, 2011.
Helicobacter pylori infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 29, 2013. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Helicobacter pylori and peptic ulcer disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ulcer/keytocure.htm. Updated September 28, 2006. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Travelers health helicobacter pylori. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-3-infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/helicobacter-pylori.htm. Updated July 1, 2011. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Weyermann M, Rothenbacher D, Brenner H. Acquisition of Helicobacter pylori infection in early childhood: independent contributions of infected mothers, fathers, and siblings. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104(1):182-189.
9/22/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Fuccio L, Zagari RM, et al. Meta-analysis: can Helicobacter pylori eradication treatment reduce the risk for gastric cancer? Ann Intern Med. 2009 Jul 21;151(2):121-128.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014
- Update Date: 09/22/2014