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Helicobacter pylori Infection

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
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What is Helicobacter pylori infection?

Helicobacter pylori infection is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of your stomach lining and ulcers (sores) in your stomach or intestine. It's often shortened to H. pylori.

  • The infection is caused by a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori

  • It's a very common infection—by age 60, about half of people have been infected

  • H. pylori spreads from person to person through kissing, close contact, and not washing hands after passing stool (poop)

  • Many people don’t have symptoms, but you may have pain in the upper belly area

  • Doctors treat H. pylori infection with antibiotics

What are the symptoms of H. pylori infection?

You may not have any symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they include:

  • Pain in your upper belly

  • Indigestion

  • Belly discomfort (a feeling of gas, a sense of fullness, or burning)

How can doctors tell if I have H. pylori infection?

Doctors suspect H. pylori infection from your symptoms. To know for sure, they'll do tests such as:

How do doctors treat H. pylori infection?

Doctors treat H. pylori infection using:

  • Antibiotics

  • Medicine to lower stomach acid (proton pump inhibitor)

After treatment, doctors will repeat breath or stool tests to make sure the infection is gone.

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