Helicobacter pylori

What is Helicobacter pylori?

Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) is the name of a bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers by infecting the stomach lining, resulting in a burning pain in the stomach.

Helicobacter Pylori Spotlight

H pylori infection is a common cause of peptic ulcer disease in the United States. Peptic ulcer is a localized area of erosion occurring in the stomach or duodenal (the beginning of the small intestine) lining, resulting in abdominal pain, possible bleeding, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Many people contract H pylori at a young age, but symptoms most commonly occur in adulthood.

The signs and symptoms of peptic ulcer can be constant or sporadic, and the disease course varies among individuals. If H pylori is the cause, the symptoms will remain as long as the infection is untreated. Some people with peptic ulcers have no symptoms at all, while others may have burning pain, severe nausea, and vomiting.

In the case of H pylori-related peptic ulcer, the infection can be treated successfully with antibiotics. You can reduce your risk of H pylori bacteria infection by following commonsense hygiene practices, such as washing your hands with soap and water prior to preparing food and after handling dirty diapers or using the bathroom.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms such as severe or persistent abdominal pain, bloody stool (the blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture), or vomiting blood or black material (resembling coffee grounds).

SYMPTOMS

H pylori causes irritation, inflammation and damage to the stomach lining that may result in a number of symptoms. The symptoms can vary in intensity among individuals.... Read more about helicobacter pylorisymptoms

CAUSES

H pylori infection is caused by Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) bacteria. These bacteria are present in the stool (feces), vomit, and saliva of infected people. When food or water sources are contaminated with feces containing H pylori, drinking from these water or food sources spreads the bacteria.... Read more about helicobacter pyloricauses

TREATMENTS

Treatment for H pylori bacteria begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine if you have H pylori bacteria, your health care provider will ask you to undergo diagnostic tests.... Read more about helicobacter pyloritreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases


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