Helicobacter Pylori Infection
One of the most common infectious disease in the world, caused by a bacteria is called Helicobacter Pylori infection. H. Pylori symptoms are stomach aches, nausea, loss of appetite, etc. Helicobacter Pylori treatment aims to eradicate this bacteria from the body completely and is performed with drugs. Below you can find more detailed information about symptoms, diagnostics services and Helicobacter Pylori treatment.
What is Helicobacter Pylori Infection?
Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria. This spiral shaped bacterium can cause chronic inflammation in the inner lining of the stomach and in duodenum. These bacteria enter your body and live in your digestive tract. Over time, they can cause sores (ulcers) in the lining of your stomach or the upper part of your small intestine. In some people, this infection can lead to stomach cancer.
Is Helicobacter Pylori infection common?
Yes, about two-thirds of the world’s population has it in their bodies. Normally, it doesn’t cause ulcers or any other symptoms. If you do have any sores, there are medicines that can kill the germs and help sores heal.
H. PYLORI SYMPTOMS
Usually, people with H. pylori infection will never have any signs or symptoms. Certain people may be born with higher resistance to the harmful effects of H. pylori. When signs or symptoms do occur with H. pylori infection, they include:
- Achy or burning pain in your abdomen
- Abdominal pain (worse when your stomach is empty)
- Appetite loss
- Frequent burping
- Unintentional weight loss
HELICOBACTER PYLORI TREATMENT OPTIONS
If you have ulcers caused by the infection, you will need treatment to kill the germs and heal your stomach lining and prevent the sores from recurring.It will usually take one to two weeks of treatment to get better. Your doctor will most probably recommend a few drugs to take. The options include:
- Antibiotics: To kill the bacteria in your body, such as:
- Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
- Metronidazole (Flagyl)
- Tetracycline (Sumycin)
- Tinidazole (Tindamax)
You’ll most likely take at least two from this group.
- Drugs to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach – they block the tiny pumps that produce it. These drugs include:
- Dexlansoprazole (Dexilant)
- Esomeprazole (Nexium)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
- Omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Pantoprazole (Protonix)
- Rabeprazole (Aciphex)
- Bismuth subsalicylate helps to kill H. pylori along with antibiotics.
- Medicines that block the histamine (chemical that prompts your stomach to make more acid). These are:
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Famotidine (Fluxid, Pepcid)
- Nizatidine (Axid)
- Ranitidine (Zantac)
For a few weeks, you may have to take 14 or more pills per day. It seems like a lot of medicine but it’s really important to take them as your doctor prescribes and to follow their instructions. The bacteria in your body may become resistant to them which makes infections harder to treat ff you don’t take antibiotics the right way. Your doctor may test your breath or stool again after a month of finishing your medication to make sure the infection is gone.
DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES available to detect Helicobacter Pylori Infection
- History taking and physical exam: Your doctor will ask you questions about your overall health, symptoms you have and family medical history. Then your doctor will perform a physical examination of your body to look for any visible symptoms of complications, which this bacteria can cause (bad breath, tummy pain if you happen to have ulcers and sores.
Tests and procedures used to determine whether you have an H. pylori infection are:
- Blood test: The results may reveal evidence of an active or previous H. pylori infection in your body. With that said, breath and stool tests are still better at detecting active H. pylori infections.
- Breath test: You will be required to swallow a pill, liquid or pudding that contains tagged carbon molecules. Carbon is released when the solution is broken down in your stomach if you have the infection. The carbon will be expelled when you exhale. You will be asked to exhale into a bag, and your doctor uses a special device to detect the carbon molecules. Certain acid-suppressing drugs such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) and antibiotics can interfere the test. You will be asked to stop taking those medications for a week or two weeks before you have the test. This test is available for adults and children.
- Stool test: A stool antigen test identifies foreign proteins associated with the infection in your stool. Similar to the breath test, PPIs and bismuth subsalicylate can affect the results of this test.
- Scope test: During the endoscopy exam, your doctor inserts a long flexible tube equipped with a tiny camera down your throat and esophagus and into your stomach and duodenum. This allows your doctor to view any irregularities and remove tissue samples (biopsy) which will be analyzed for the infection.
This test isn’t normally recommended to diagnose an H. pylori infection as it’s more invasive. However, it may be used to diagnose H. pylori ulcers or if it’s needed to rule out other digestive conditions.