Helicobacter Pylori Infection
En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that can infect the stomach and intestines. It can lead to:

Treatment for H. pylori is done with antibiotics and other medication that relieves symptoms.

Gastric Ulcer

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Causes
This condition occurs when an infected person passes the bacteria to someone else. The bacteria are spread through:

  • Fecal-oral contact
  • Oral-oral contact
Risk Factors
Factors that increase your risk of h. pylori infection include being in:

  • Close contact with an infected person
  • A crowded and unsanitary living environment
Symptoms
In 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
  • Bloating
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • Burping
  • Vomiting blood
  • Lightheadedness
Diagnosis
Your 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
Treatment
Talk 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
  • Antacids
Prevention
To 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.



RESOURCES:
The American College of Gastroenterology

American Gastroenterological Association

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Ontario Association of Gastroenterology

References:
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.

Last Reviewed March 2014



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