Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that can cause stomach irritation, heartburn, nausea and bloating, in addition to ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. In rare cases, H. pylori may also be related to the development of stomach cancer.
This common bacteria is usually spread from mouth to mouth or from bowel movements. Therefore, it is commonly spread among people who live together or who share food and bathrooms. Symptoms of an H. pylori infection include:
- Stomach pain
- Nausea or vomiting
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor may have you take a breath test to determine if you have an H. pylori infection. You will be given a substance to swallow, and then you will wait a few minutes. Your doctor will then measure your breath for the bacteria by having you blow up a balloon. If the test is positive for H. pylori, your doctor may choose to treat you with antibiotics for 2-3 weeks.