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Helicobacter Pylori Infection
(H. Pylori Infection)
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that can infect the stomach and intestines. It can lead to:
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This condition occurs when an infected person passes the bacteria to someone else. The bacteria are spread through:
- Fecal-oral contact
- Oral-oral contact
Factors that increase your risk of H. pylori infection include being in:
- Close contact with an infected person
- A crowded and unsanitary living environment
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
- Black, tarry, or bloody stools
- Vomiting blood
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
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
To reduce your chances of getting H. pylori infection, take these steps:
American College of Gastroenterology
American Gastroenterological Association
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Helicobacter pylori. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ulcer/files/hpfacts.PDF. Accessed May 13, 2013.
Helicobacter pylori infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 29, 2013. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Travelers health helicobacter pylori. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/helicobacter-pylori. 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, Eusebi LH. Meta-analysis: Can Helicobacter pylori eradication treatment reduce the risk for gastric cancer? Ann Intern Med. 2009;151(2):121-128.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 03/2016
- Update Date: 09/22/2014