If you have an H. Pylori infection, you are not alone. Around 44 percent of the population in the world carry H. Pylori. H. Pylori is a type of bacteria that resides in your digestive tract and is harmless unless it affects your stomach lining. Mostly, children get H. Pylori infections, but adults can also get it.
Pylori lives in the harsh acidic environment of your stomach but can change the environment to less acidic in order to survive. The spiral shape of this bacteria helps it penetrate the digestive tract lining where it gets protected by mucus from immune cells. H. Pylori causes various stomach problems, including peptic ulcers and gastritis.
Let’s talk about the symptoms of H. Pylori infection and how we can test it.
Symptoms of H. Pylori Infection
Nearly 20% of people who get H. Pylori infections do not show symptoms. However, bacteria can cause peptic ulcers by damaging the stomach lining. Symptoms of peptic ulcers due to H. Pylori include:
- Dull or burning when the stomach is empty
- Unexpected weight loss
- Bloating and burping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor appetite
Rarely, H. Pylori can also result in stomach cancer. The symptoms include:
- Blood in stool
- Unexplained weight loss
- Poor appetite and feeling full early
- Abdominal swelling and discomfort
- Nausea, fatigue, and weakness
- Stomach pain
It is important to get immediate medical attention if you have anemia, blood in stool, or black vomit or feces.
Tests for H. Pylori Infection
If you have the above-mentioned symptoms, your gastroenterologist will recommend you one or more tests to learn whether H. Pylori is the cause of your peptic ulcer. These tests include:
Urea Breath Test
Urea breath test checks for the abnormal carbon dioxide level – a sign of H. Pylori infection. During this test, you will exhale in a bag before and after drinking a solution or taking a pill containing harmless radioactive material. A higher level of carbon dioxide after drinking the solution indicates H. Pylori is present.
The most common stool test for detecting H. Pylori is called the stool antigen test, during which antigen associated with bacteria is detected. Certain medications like antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and bismuth subsalicylate can interfere with the accuracy of stool antigen tests. Therefore, if you are taking these medicines, your gastroenterologist will advise you to wait at least four weeks for a test after completion of treatment.
- Pylori infection can also be detected by a stool polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. It can also detect mutations that cause resistance to antibiotics.
An analysis of your blood can confirm antibodies to H. Pylori.
An endoscope is a long flexible tube with a tiny camera inserted down your throat and esophagus into the stomach and duodenum. With the help of an endoscope, your gestroentrologist can view irregularities in your digestive tract and remove a small tissue sample from the stomach or intestine. This tissue sample(biopsy) is sent to a lab to detect the presence of H. Pylori.
H. Pylori Infection Treatment in Lancaster, California
If you or a loved one have symptoms of H. Pylori infection and seek expert care, do not hesitate to reach out to our skilled gastroenterologist at inSite Digestive Health Care. Our gastroenterologist will evaluate your medical history, understand symptoms, and recommend the most suitable test to detect H. Pylori. If your test shows an infection, our doctor will provide you a personalized treatment plan and aftercare.
To know more or get treatment, use our office locator to find a clinic near you. You can also make an appointment online.