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Helicobacter Pylori

Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) is bacteria that infects the lining of the stomach.  It frequently causes gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) and can also cause peptic ulcers.

Most H. pylori infections are contracted in childhood and produce no symptoms.

The bacterial infection is very common, with about half of the world's population hosting it in their stomach. The bacteria are passed through contact with infected saliva, vomit, or fecal matter or through ingestion of contaminated food/water. Populations in areas with poor sanitation have a higher proportion of infected individuals.

SYMPTOMS OF H. PYLORI INFECTION

Helicobacter pylori infection can be asymptomatic, that is, without any symptoms.  When it does produce symptoms, these can be similar to symptoms caused by other stomach disorders:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating and fullness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite

Other symptoms of peptic ulcer or its complications, like peptic ulcer bleeding (anemia or low blood count, black or tar like stools, vomiting of dark brown or red material).

HELICOBACTER PYLORI TREATMENT

To prevent the H. pylori bacteria from becoming resistant to a single antibiotic, the infection is treated with two or sometimes three antibiotics simultaneously for up to 2 weeks.

An acid-suppressing medication is also commonly prescribed, as this also suppresses the bacteria and aids in its eradication from the stomach wall.
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