What Is H. Pylori? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
What is H. pylori infection?
Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, are bacteria that can infect the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine) or the stomach. It is the main reason why peptic ulcer disease occurs. Besides causing gastritis, H. pylori can also aggravate and swell the stomach lining. Sometimes a chronic H. pylori infection left untreated can result in stomach cancer.
Who gets H. pylori infection?
Up to 75% of people on the planet carry the H. pylori bacteria. Most people are asymptomatic. Most H. pylori infections affect children. It occurs more frequently in underdeveloped nations. In Singapore, it affects 31% of the population.
What is the relationship between stomach cancer and H. pylori infection?
You are more likely to get stomach cancer later in life if you have an H. pylori infection. Your doctor could advise getting tested for H. pylori antibodies if you have a strong family history of stomach cancer and other cancer risk factors, even if you don’t necessarily show symptoms of a stomach ulcer. Your healthcare professional may also advise making some lifestyle adjustments, such as increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables, and fiber in your diet, in addition to screening and therapy. You can reduce this risk by visiting your doctor often and adhering to their instructions.
What conditions is H. pylori known to cause?
Most H. pylori infected people don’t experience any signs of the infection, making it a silent threat as H. pylori can lead to chronic active, chronic persistent and atrophic gastritis in both adults and children. It can also result in stomach and duodenal ulcers.
Those who are infected have a 2- to 6-fold higher chance of getting stomach cancer and mucosal-associated-lymphoid-type (MALT) lymphoma. Uncertainty surrounds H. pylori’s function in non-ulcer dyspepsia.
How does H. pylori infection cause damage?
The mucus layer of the duodenum and stomach lining is where H. pylori thrives. Urease, a secreted enzyme by the bacterium, turns urea into ammonia. The bacteria are shielded from stomach acid by this ammonia. H. pylorus grows and eats away at stomach tissue, causing gastritis and/or gastric ulcer.
What are the symptoms of H. pylori infection?
Symptoms and signs, if present, are those that arise from gastritis or peptic ulcer and include:
- Dull or burning pain in your stomach (more often a few hours after eating and at night). Your pain may last minutes to hours and may come and go over several days to weeks.
- Unplanned weight loss.
- Nausea and vomiting (bloody vomit).
- Indigestion (dyspepsia).
- Loss of appetite.
- Dark stools (from blood in your stool).
How is H. pylori infection detected?
- A stool test: Checks for signs of H. pylori in a sample of faeces. You can make a self-test with BUZUD H.PYLORI ANTIGEN RAPID TEST.
- A breath test: Involves exhaling into a bag both before and after ingesting a solution. The test calculates how much carbon dioxide is exhaled into the air before and after you drink the solution. After consuming the solution, a greater level indicates the presence of H. pylori.
- Upper endoscopy: The stomach is accessed through the throat with a flexible tube. To check for H. pylori, a tiny tissue sample from the lining of the stomach or intestine is removed.
All information presented herein serves as a general guideline, and is not intended as dispensing any medical advice(s). User(s) should consult their doctor to seek further clarification for any doubt. It is recommended to refer to this guide with sole discretion, thereby we shall not be held responsible for any part of the information as presented.
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