H. pylori is a bacterium that thrives in the stomach or upper part of the small intestine. H. pylori is an infection that is estimated to effect about half the people in the world. Most people who carry the bacteria experience no signs or symptoms of infection.

The H. pylori infection causes inflammation of the stomach lining and is the most common cause of stomach ulcers. This infection is also attributed to gastric malignancies (carcinoma and lymphoma).

Antibiotics used to eradicate H. pylori bacteria are usually part of a multiple-drug strategy to treat disorders caused or worsened by H. pylori infection.

What Are The Symptoms Of H. Pylori Infection?

  • An ache or burning pain in your abdomen
  • A change in appetite with weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent burping
  • Bloating
  • Bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Bloody or black tarry stools

How Is It Diagnosed?
There are three methods that can be used to diagnose an H. pylori infection:

  • Endoscopy: your physician can remove small bits of tissue (biopsy) through a tube. The tissue is then examined under the microscope for the bacteria.
  • Breath Test: non-invasive method in which a reaction is created within your stomach yielding elevated levels of CO2 thus indicating the presence of active H.pylori.
  • Serum Test: measures protein antibodies against these bacteria that are present in the blood. This method does not differentiate between present or eradicated infection.

Ailments Associated With H. Pylori Infection
Ulcers (open sores) of the stomach and duodenum can be associated with infection. The most common sign of an ulcer is a frequent burning pain in your abdomen. The pain occurs most often when your stomach is empty and may last only a few minutes or several hours.

Gastritis is inflammation of your stomach’s lining. While signs and symptoms are often similar to those of ulcers, you may have gastritis with no apparent problems at first. H. pylori infection can cause a chronic inflammatory response that over time damages the lining of your stomach resulting in the loss of acid-producing glands in your stomach. These changes can increase your risk of developing stomach cancer.

Gastric Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT) lymphoma is the development of a cancerous tumor from white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the lining of your stomach. H. pylori infection greatly all people with the disease are infected with this bacterium.

Nonulcer dyspepsia is stomach pain or discomfort not caused by an ulcer or another identifiable disorder that would result in the pain.

What Causes The Infection?
H. pylori bacteria enter your body through your mouth and pass into your digestive system. The stomach is generally a very hostile environment for many bacteria. The H. pylori bacterium is especially well-adapted for survival in the stomach. It produces an enzyme that, through a series of biochemical processes, creates a low-acid buffer zone for itself.

Many people contract H. pylori infection as a child and the infection persists into adulthood, but adults also can contract H. pylori.

The bacteria seem to be transmitted from one person to another through contact with saliva. You could, for example, contract an H. pylori infection by sharing an eating utensil with an infected person.