H. Pylori Infection

1 What is H. Pylori Infection?

H. pylori infection occurs when Helicobacter pylori which is a type of bacteria infects the stomach.

This ifection is mostly common during childhood. It is a common cause of peptic ulcers and is present in more than half the human population.

Many individuals have no knowledge that they have it, due to the reason that they dont get sick from it.

If one develops symptoms of peptic ulcers, doctors can test the individual for H. pylori infection due to the fact that it can be treated with antibiotics.

2 Symptoms

Most individuals never show any signs and symtoms of H. pylori infection. It is not clear why, but understandable that some individuals are born with an immune system that is more resistant to the harmful effects of H. pylori infection.

When in some cases signs and symptoms do occur, they include the following: abdominal pain in the form of an ache and a sensation of burning pain.

This abdominal pain gets worse when the stomach is empty.

  • Nausea,
  • loss of appetite
  • frequent burping,
  • bloating
  • and unintentional weight loss

are all among the possible signs and symptoms.

It is very crucial to make an appointment with adoctor if one notices any persistent signs and symptoms that worry them.

Always seek medical attention when

  • severe abdominal pain,
  • difficulty swallowing,
  • passing a bloody or tarry stools,
  • bloody or black vomit
  • or vomit that has the appearance of coffee grounds.

3 Causes

H. pylori infection is caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria.

It is accepted that it can be passed on from one person to the next by the modes of

  • direct contact with saliva,
  • vomit and inclusively,
  • fecal matter.

It can also be spread through contaminated food and water amongs other means.

4 Making a Diagnosis

The doctor can diagnose and treat an individual for H. pylori infection or refer one to a specialist who deals with disease of the digestive system or a gastroenterologist.

Any signs and symptoms noticed must be responded with a direct medical consultation.

Appointments can be short and brief as there is not  a lot of ground to cover, it is well advised to be thoroughly prepared for the appointment beforehand.

Some information that can prepare an individual be a doctors appointment include the following: one must be sure to ask if there is anything to be done in advance such diet restriction. Before the appointment, it is necessary to write a list that has the responses for the following questions;

  • When did the symptoms begin to manifest?
  • Does anything make them better or wose?
  • Has the problem ever been encountered by any other individuals in one's family?
  • What kind of medications and supplements does one take regularly?

An individual's time with a doctor is highly limited and must be used to the fullest.

5 Treatment

H. pylori infections are treated with two medications simultaneously, this is done to prevent the bacteria from developing an immunity toward one particular antibiotic.

Doctors also prescribe an acid-suppressing drug, this helps in the healing of the stomachs lining.

Drugs that can suppress acid include the following; Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These drugs put a stop to acid production in the stomach.

There are several examples of PPIs,

Histamine (H-2) blockesr are also part of the treatment plan. These medications block a substance known as histamine which triggers the production of acid.

Examples of these drugs include:

Another part of the arsenal is Bismuth subsalicylate, which is commonly known as Pepto-Bismol. This drug works by coating the ulcer and protection against stomach acid. A doctor will always recommend one to undergo testing for H. pylori infection atleast four weeks post-treatment to determine if treatment was successfully carried out.

6 Prevention

Much like any other infection, the best way to prevent H. Pylori is to stay clean and sanitized when possible.

Areas around the world that have very high occurrence of H.pylori infection and it complications are also areas where it is important for doctors to test healthy people for the bacteria.

Whether ther are certain benefits to treating H.pylori infection when one has no present signs or symtoms is widely controversial among doctors.

It is therefore, very important that when one is concerned about H. pylori infection or thinks that they may have a risk of stomach cancer, to see their doctor with the view to knowing whether  they can benefit from H. pylori screening.

7 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with H. pylori infection.

H. pylori is often contracted in early childhood. Therefore, risk factors are in relation to living conditions during one's childhood.

Living in crowded conditions increases the risk of H. pylori infection. Another risk factor is the presence of an unreliable supply of clean water.

Having a good supply of clean dependable running water greatly reduces the risk of infection. People living in developing countries are more likely to experience conditions where unsanitary conditions are more common.

Therefore, they have a higher risk of  H.pylori infection. As H. pylori can be passed from one individual to the next, living with a person with the H. pylori infection greatly increases the possibility that one can be infected as well.

Complications associated with H. pylori infection include: ulcers, it can damage the protective lining  the stomach and the small intestines. This further allows stomach acid to open A sore. About 10% of people with H. pylori will develop an ulcer.

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