Helicobacter pylori, or simply known as H. pylori, is a bacterium responsible for most cases of stomach and duodenal ulcers. The pathogen can also
cause non-ulcer digestive problems.
If you often experience a stomach upset or indigestion, you'd better go to your doctor. A simple test can help your doctor determine whether you are
infected with H. pylori or not. There are several tests for detection of H. pylori, such as blood test, stool test, breath test, or endoscopy. Some of
these tests are designed to look for H. pylori antigens or antibodies against it in the body. For instance,
-- a diagnostic tool -- have been used to detect IgA, IgM, and IgG antibodies to H.
pylori in a sample such as a blood sample.
People infected with H. pylori are more likely to develop stomach cancer, according to epidemiologic studies. So if you test positive for the
bacterium, therapeutic treatment may be necessary.
Infection of H. pylori is very common, especially in developing countries. It's estimated that about 50% of the world's population is infected with
H. pylori. The bacterium is mainly found in the stomach and the intestine of affected patients.
H. pylori infection is highly contagious. Although scientists have not fully understood how it spreads, evidence suggests that it mainly transmitted
via the fecal-oral route or possibly the oral-oral route.
How to avoid H. pylori infection? First of all, it must be pointed out that the exact transmission method of H. pylori remains largely unknown. There
are no specific recommendations for prevention of H. pylori infection. To reduce your risk of getting infected by H. pylori, you'd better develop
good hygienic and eating habits. For example, you can:
1. Wash your hands thoroughly before eating and after using the restroom
2. Avoid food or water that are not clean
3. Do not eat poorly cooked food.
4. Stop interacting with those infected.
Symptoms of H. pylori infection vary among patients. Some of the patients may never show any signs or symptoms. But others may experience a series of
symptoms, which may include:
1. Abdomen pain
3. Poor appetite
4. Frequent burping
7. Weight loss for an unknown reason
If these symptoms frequently recur, or persist, or are severe, you should consult a doctor. If H. pylori infection does not cause problems, medical
treatment may not be necessary. If the infection causes discomfort, there are many treatment regimens. Some of the drugs that are used in H. pylori
2. Proton-pump inhibitors (PPI)
What type of drug you receive depends on your past medical history and if you have allergies to any of these drugs. A follow-up test for H. pylori is
critical after treatment, because it helps determine whether the bacteria are gotten rid of and whether you will need more rounds of treatment. About
a fifth of patients with H. pylori infection is not cured after first round of treatment. So, it's important to take medicine as advised by the