Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium and is a major cause of peptic ulcers. It damages the mucous coating that protects the stomach and duodenum. This damage allows powerful stomach acid to irritate the lining of the stomach, and together with the H. pylori, this can cause the ulcer.
While H. pylori causes more than half of all peptic ulcers, some people infected never develop ulcers, and may never have any symptoms. In fact, many people never get sick from H.pylori and therefore do not realize they have the infection. Some people may actually be resistant to damage from H.pylori.
What causes H. pylori infections?
Medical experts are still unsure of what causes H. pylori, but it may spread through contact with other people or by consuming contaminated water or food. H. pylori typically infects a person during childhood, due to risk factors like living with someone with the infection, living in crowded conditions, residing in a developing country, or being without access to clean water.
How serious is H. pylori?
Sometimes, H. pylori is not serious at all and does not lead to any symptoms. People who are affected by H pylori may develop a stomach ulcer or inflammation in the stomach lining. People who have an H. pylori infection are also at greater risk of stomach cancer.
How is H. pylori treated?
The typical treatment for an H. pylori infection is a combination of two antibiotics, so the body does not become resistant to any single antibiotic. You will also likely take a medication like Pepto-Bismol or a proton pump inhibitor to reduce acid and allow the stomach lining to heal.
- “I felt a burning sensation in my stomach, and the pain was worse when I had an empty stomach.”
- “I had no appetite, and I lost weight without meaning to do so.”
- “I was bloated and burping all the time, and I felt nauseous.”