Helicobacter pylori is a bacterial infection typically acquired in childhood and may eventually cause painful stomach ulcers. The gastroenterology experts at Digestive Disease Specialists in Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, have significant experience in accurately diagnosing and effectively treating H. pylori infections. If you’re experiencing burning stomach pain that makes it hard to eat but worsens when you skip a meal, schedule an evaluation today. Call the nearest office or book an appointment online.
H. pylori is a common bacterial infection that affects the tissues lining your stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine (duodenum).
It may spread through fecal matter, saliva, or contaminated drinking water or utensils. Failure to wash your hands thoroughly when caring for someone with H. pylori can also spread the bacteria.
Experts estimate that 50%-75% of the world’s population have H. pylori, and most, about 80%, have no symptoms whatsoever and may never experience any health problems related to H. pylori.
However, 20% of individuals with H. pylori do experience symptoms that may occur years after the initial infection, including:
These symptoms may come and go initially but typically worsen and become more persistent as the infection further damages your stomach lining.
As H. pylori bacteria multiply, they can cause:
About 10% of people with H. pylori develop open sores or stomach ulcers related to tissue damage caused by the bacteria. Symptoms such as burning discomfort and upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding worsen as the ulcers enlarge and deepen.
H. pylori can irritate your stomach and lead to inflammation (gastritis) that causes varying degrees of discomfort, bloating, and nausea.
Your risk of developing certain types of stomach cancer increases significantly with symptomatic and misdiagnosed or untreated H. pylori.
Your provider at Digestive Disease Specialists may recommend a stool study or breath test to check for H. pylori infection.
If you’re having symptoms of peptic ulcer disease, you may also benefit from a diagnostic EGD and tissue sampling (biopsy) to confirm H. pylori infection.
The infection is typically treated with a course of two different antibiotics to eradicate the bacteria, and prescription medications that slow or block acid production while your stomach and small intestine heal.
Generally, repeat studies are recommended when your treatment course ends to ensure the infection has cleared.
Schedule a visit at Digestive Disease Specialists today for an accurate diagnosis and treatment for H. pylori. Call the office or request an appointment online.