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Helicobacter Pylori: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Sep 06, 2023

Helicobacter Pylori: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

H. pylori, a type of bacteria, infects your stomach and causes an infection. Most often, a child will experience this. A common cause of stomach ulcers (also known as peptic ulcers) that most people don't even know they have H. pylori infections because they rarely make them sick. 

If you experience signs of a peptic ulcer, your doctor will probably do an H. pylori infection test. An ulcer known as a gastric or duodenal peptic is a lesion that forms on the lining of the digestive tract. To treat H. pylori infection, antibiotics are used.

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Causes Of Helicobacter Pylori

The H. pylori bacteria infect your stomach, causing an H. pylori infection. Typically, saliva, vomit, or feces are used to directly transmit H. pylori germs from one person to another. Additionally, polluted water or food might transmit H. pylori. There is yet no recognized mechanism by which the H. pylori bacterium in some persons develops gastritis or a peptic ulcer.

Symptoms Of Helicobacter Pylori

The majority of people who have H. pylori infection never experience any symptoms. Why so many people don't exhibit symptoms is unclear. However, some people might be more resistant to the negative effects of H. pylori from birth.

When H. pylori infection does cause signs or symptoms, they are frequently linked to gastritis or a peptic ulcer and may include:

  • A discomfort or burning sensation in the abdomen
  • Having an empty stomach may make your stomach hurt more
  • Nausea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Repeated burping
  • Bloating
  • Unintentional loss of weight

Risk Factors Of Helicobacter Pylori

People frequently get H. pylori infections as children. Living conditions in childhood have been connected to the following risk factors for H. pylori infection:

  • Residing in a crowded environment. If you share a home with a lot of individuals, H. pylori can multiply.
  • Living in the absence of a reliable supply of clean water. Regular access to clean, flowing water reduces the risk of H. pylori.
  • Living in an underdeveloped nation. Infection with H. pylori is more common among those who reside in underdeveloped nations. This may be due to the fact that congested and unhygienic living situations may be more typical in developing nations.
  • Living close to an H. pylori carrier. You are more prone to develop the infection if you live with an H. pylori carrier.

Diagnosis Of Helicobacter Pylori

The presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is detected using a variety of tests and techniques. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) testing is crucial for its detection. In order to confirm that H. pylori has been eradicated, follow-up testing is crucial. Stool samples, breath tests, and upper endoscopy examinations are all ways to conduct tests.

Evaluating stools

  • Stool antigen evaluation. The most typical stool test for H. pylori detection is this one. The examination looks for H. pylori-related proteins (antigens) in the feces.
  • PCR test on feces stool polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test can be used to identify infected feces in a lab.
  • Test in a laboratory. The test has the ability to detect alterations that could make H. pylori resistant to antibiotics. However this test is more expensive than a stool antigen test, and it might not be offered at all hospitals.

Examining your breathing

You ingest a tablet, drink, or pudding that has carbon molecules that have been marked during a breath test, also known as a urea breath test. When the solution comes into contact with H. pylori in your stomach if you have an infection, carbon is released.

As a result of the carbon being absorbed by your body, it is released when you exhale. You blow into a bag to gauge the release of carbon. The carbon molecules are discovered through a unique instrument. Any person above the age of six who is able to participate in the exam, including adults, may take it.

Scope test

A scope test, also known as an upper endoscopy exam, can be performed by a medical professional. This test could be carried out by your doctor to look into symptoms that could be brought on by diseases like peptic ulcers or gastritis that could be brought on by H. pylori.

You will receive medicine to calm you down for this exam. The endoscope, a lengthy, flexible tube with a tiny camera attached, is threaded down your neck and esophagus, into your stomach, and the duodenum, the first portion of the intestine, during the examination. Your healthcare professional can see any issues with your upper digestive tract thanks to this gadget. Also possible is the biopsy (sample collection) of tissue. The presence of H. pylori is checked in these samples.

Since this test requires more invasive procedures than a breathalyzer or stool test, it's frequently used to identify additional digestive issues in addition to H. pylori infection. The results of this test could be used by medical professionals to conduct additional examinations and seek for other digestive disorders. If the initial drugs tried failed to clear up the illness, they may also utilize this test to pinpoint the precise antibiotic that would be most effective in treating H. pylori infection.

Depending on the results of the initial endoscopy or if symptoms persist after the therapy for the H. pylori infection, this test might need to be repeated.

Test considerations

Testing accuracy may be affected by antibiotics. Retesting is typically done, if at all possible, four weeks following the last dose of antibiotics.

The accuracy of these tests can also be affected by proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are acid-suppressing medications, and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol). Histamine (H-2) blockers, which are acid-suppressing medications, might also affect how accurate these tests are. You may need to cease taking your prescriptions for up to two weeks before the test, depending on what medications you are currently taking. You'll receive detailed instructions regarding your meds from your doctor.

The same tests used for diagnosis can be used to determine whether the H. pylori infection has been eliminated. You should typically wait at least four weeks after finishing your antibiotic treatment to repeat these tests if you have previously been diagnosed with H. pylori infection.

Treatment Of H.Pylori

At least two different antibiotics are often taken at once to treat H. pylori infections. As a result, the bacteria are less likely to develop antibiotic resistance.

Medication to promote stomach healing may also be part of the course of treatment. Examples include:

  • PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). These medicines prevent the stomach from producing acid. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) include medications including omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and pantoprazole (Protonix).
  • Bismuth subsalicylate. This medication, which is better known by the trade name Pepto-Bismol, works by covering the ulcer and shielding it from stomach acid.
  • H-2 blockers, which inhibit histamine. These drugs prevent the action of a chemical called histamine, which causes the creation of acid. Cimetidine (Tagamet HB) is one instance. Only in cases when PPIs are not an option are histamine (H-2) blockers recommended for H. pylori infection.
  • At least four weeks following the suggested start of your therapy, have another H. pylori test done. You might require additional treatment using a different antibiotic combination if the tests reveal that the medication was ineffective in eliminating the illness.

Prevention Of Helicobacter Pylori

In parts of the world where H. pylori infection and its effects are common, medical personnel occasionally screen healthy persons for the infection. When you don't show any symptoms or signs of illness, experts disagree on whether it is useful to test for H. pylori infection.

If you have any concerns about H. pylori infection or feel that you may be at high risk for stomach cancer, talk to your doctor. If you would benefit from H. pylori testing, you and your doctor can decide together.

Complications Of Helicobacter Pylori

H. pylori infection-related complications include:

  • Ulcers. The protective lining of the stomach and small intestine can be harmed by H. pylori. As a result, stomach acid may cause an ulcer to open up. In about 10% of H. pylori carriers, an ulcer will form.
  • The lining of the stomach is inflamed. A stomach infection with H. pylori can irritate and inflame the stomach (lead to gastritis).
  • Stomach cancer. A significant risk factor for some kinds of stomach cancer is H. pylori infection.

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