Helicobacter pylori

What is Helicobacter pylori?

Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) is the name of a bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers. It can infect the stomach lining, dissolving the mucus film that protects it from the highly acidic stomach contents. This causes a burning pain in the stomach. Helicobacter pylori is the most common human bacterial infection. Most infections occur before age five.

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. Most people contract H pylori at a young age and experience no symptoms. 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

What are the symptoms of infection with Helicobacter pylori?

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.

Common symptoms of H pylori bacterial infection

You may experience H pylori bacteria symptoms da... Read more about helicobacter pylorisymptoms

CAUSES

What causes infection with Helicobacter pylori?

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 bact... Read more about helicobacter pyloricauses

TREATMENTS

How is an infection with Helicobacter pylori treated?

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.

Antibiotic treatments for H pylori infection

Antibiotic therapy... Read more about helicobacter pyloritreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 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


Popular Infections and Contagious Diseases Slide Shows