Share this page

Health Library

Helicobacter Pylori Infection ( H. Pylori Infection)

Pronounced: hel-lick-o-back-ter pie-lor-ee in-fek-shun

Definition

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that can infect the stomach and intestines. It can lead to:

Treatment for H. pylori is done with antibiotics and other medication that relieves symptoms.

Gastric Ulcer


Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

This condition occurs when an infected person passes the bacteria to someone else. The bacteria are spread through:

  • Fecal-oral contact
  • Oral-oral contact
Risk Factors

Factors that increase your risk of h. pylori infection include being in:

  • Close contact with an infected person
  • A crowded and unsanitary living environment
Symptoms

In most cases, there are not any symptoms. However, if someone develops an ulcer or gastritis, symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain that may:
    • Awaken you from sleep
    • Change when you eat
    • Last for a few minutes or several hours
    • Feel like unusually strong hunger pangs
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • Burping
  • Vomiting blood
  • Lightheadedness
Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Stool test
  • Endoscopy—a thin, lighted tube inserted down your throat to look inside your stomach and to take tissue samples for testing
  • Urea breath test—a test that can help detect if there is a current infection
Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Your doctor may recommend:

  • Antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection
  • H-2 blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Antacids
Prevention

To reduce your chances of getting h. pylori infection, take these steps:

  • Wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.
  • Drink water from a safe source.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking increases the chance of getting an ulcer.

RESOURCES:

The American College of Gastroenterology
http://www.gi.org

American Gastroenterological Association
http://www.gastro.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Ontario Association of Gastroenterology
http://www.gastro.on.ca

References:

Helicobacter pylori. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/aip/research/hp.html. Accessed April 12, 2011.

Helicobacter pylori infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/. Updated April 29, 2013. Accessed May 14, 2013.

Helicobacter pylori and peptic ulcer disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ulcer/keytocure.htm. Updated September 28, 2006. Accessed May 14, 2013.

Travelers health helicobacter pylori. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-3-infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/helicobacter-pylori.htm. Updated July 1, 2011. Accessed May 14, 2013.

Weyermann M, Rothenbacher D, Brenner H. Acquisition of Helicobacter pylori infection in early childhood: independent contributions of infected mothers, fathers, and siblings. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104(1):182-189.



Last reviewed May 2013 by Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Baptist Flame

Baptist Health Systems

Find A Doctor

Services

Locations

Baptist Medical Clinic

Patients & Visitors

Learn

Contact Us

Physician Tools

Careers at Baptist

Employee Links

Online Services

At Baptist Health Systems

At Baptist Medical Center

close ×