Helicobacter Pylori Infection

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that colonizes the upper gastrointestinal tract of more than 50% of the world’s population. Infection is more common in developing countries and is decreasing in western countries. Infection typically begins in childhood. Many people with this infection have no symptoms or problems: around 10% will develop ulcers and a very small number will get stomach cancers.

Blood tests, stool tests, breath tests or biopsy from the surface of the stomach at endoscopy can all be used to test for H. pylori infection. When H. pylori is detected specific treatment (antibiotics and an anti acid drug) are prescribed. When H. pylori infection has caused an ulcer, successful treatment of the infection can be the only way to ensure that the ulcer heals.