Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection occurs when H. pylori bacteria infect your stomach. A common cause of stomach ulcers, H. pylori infection, can affect more than half of the people in the world.
Most people don't know they have Helicobacter pylori infection because they get never sick. If you feel signs and symptoms of a stomach ulcer, your doctor will likely test you for H. pylori infection. If you have a Helicobacter pylori infection it can be treated with antibiotics.
What is Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori)
Helicobacter Pylori or just HP is a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium that can live in both human and animal organisms.
It is a type of bacterium that is dangerous and causes many health problems, especially in the digestive system. The most common symptoms of Helicobacter pylori infection are stomach pain and nausea. We'll look at symptoms of H. pylori infection in more detail in the Symptoms of Disease section.
What does Helicobacter Pylori look like?
The bacterium is a gram negative organism in a spiral shape and 6-8 flagella on one end. Its size is 2-4 μm x 0.5-1.0 μm.
Where is Helicobacter pylori most commonly found?
Helicobacter pylori lives in the human stomach. Studies show that this bacterium can also live in the animal's stomach. Helicobacter pylori infects the stomach or upper gastrointestinal tract. H. pylori can exist in a very acidic environment at pH 2.0 or lower. The biggest health complications of Helicobacter are associated with an infection of the stomach lining.
This bacterium can lead to chronic inflammation or stomach cancer. It is considered to be the main cause of stomach cancer.
Symptoms of Helicobacter pylori infection:
- stomach pain
- pressure in the stomach
- bad breath
- upper abdomen pain
- loss of appetite
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience persistent signs and symptoms that are worrying you. Get medical help right away if you notice:
- Severe or persistent abdominal pain
- Bloody or black vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- If you have black, bloody, or tarry stools
- If you have difficulty by swallowing
If you have repeated symptoms of possible H. pylori infection, it would be good to see a doctor. There are also HP tests that you can use at home - more in the chapter Helicobacter Pylori Tests.
What will happen if H. pylori goes untreated
If H. pylori infection is left untreated, the lining of the stomach will be disproportionately damaged. Possible complications of Helicobacter pylori:
- Stomach ulcers
- Inflammation of the lining of the stomach
Unfortunately, the latest H. pylori research shows that Helicobacter infection is a strong risk factor for certain types of stomach cancer.
H. pylori is a bacterium. It is transmitted from person to person.
It is about fecal-oral infection. The infection often originates in childhood, but the development of problems and symptoms often occurs in adulthood.
Helicobacter Pylori Test
If you think you have Helicobacter infection, you should contact your doctor. There are also tests that can be used at home.
Types of Helicobacter pylori tests:
- Serum-, urine- or saliva samples: determination of antibodies against Helicobacter pylori
- Stool sample: detection of Helicobacter pylori antigen from the stool sample
- Urea Breath Test
Stool home testing kit
This test is a method of detecting Helicobacter infection. The reliability is also high in this test (under all conditions). The test is simple and suitable for almost all age groups. The detection of H. pylori is tested by an immunochromatographic test. This simple quick test for the home examines the detection of Helicobacter pylori antigen (HP Ag) in a stool sample.
What is the treatment for an infection by Helicobacter pylori
If you have a positive test for H. pylori bacteria, you should start treatment. Your doctor should evaluate your health and H. pylori infection, and then decide what treatment for the HP bacteria should be. Usually a combination of several antibiotics against Helicobacter is used. Depending on their effectiveness, their length depends. It's always at least a week. However, the duration of antibiotic treatment is usually around three weeks. A stomach lining sample is then taken to determine whether the Helicobacter has been eradicated.