H. Pylori (Helicobacter Pylori) are bacteria commonly found in the stomach that cause infection. People who live together and share a bathroom, or food, can more easily spread these bacteria and become infected. Family members may not even know they are infected because they have no symptoms. The bacteria are widely present in developing countries. In the USA around 10% of children have been infected by age 10.In some people, H pylori can damage the protective lining of the stomach and small intestine. This can allow stomach acid to create and open sore (ulcer). H pylori can also cause inflammation in the stomach (gastritis).CausesWhile this bacterium has been found to cause ulcers, doctors do not know why some people with H. pylori develop ulcers and others don’t. In the past, professionals thought ulcers were caused by stress or eating certain foods. We now know that most ulcers are caused by either H. pylori or long-term use of aspirin or ibuprofen.Symptoms
Some people infected with the bacteria may never feel symptoms. Others may experience:
There are several tests available to check for H pylori infection:
The most common treatment for infection with no ulcer involves taking several kinds of antibiotics and Pepto Bismol.
If you have an ulcer, treatment may involve several things. The doctor may prescribe a few weeks of antibiotics to kill the bacteria as well as medicine that will coat the lining of the stomach so the ulcer can heal. Other drugs may be prescribed that will stop the stomach from making acid, which will also help heal the ulcer.
It is very important that you follow the doctor’s instructions on taking the medication, including taking all medication forthe entire length of time.
The doctor may suggest that family members be tested and treated for the bacteria to prevent any re-infection after you are treated for H. pylori.