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H. pylori infection

Definition


Disease: H. pylori infection H. pylori infection
Category: Digestive diseases

Disease Definition:

When a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infects someone's stomach or the first part of their small intestine, H. pylori infection occurs.

 

It is thought that this infection is present in almost half the people in the world. In most cases, this infection doesn't cause any signs, symptoms or complications. However, in other cases it could lead to ulcers, stomach cancer and other serious complications.
 

Work Group:


Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

As mentioned before, no signs and symptoms are present in most cases of H. pylori infection. However, when signs and symptoms do occur they may include:

 

  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • An ache or burning pain in the abdomen
  • Frequent burping

 

In case a person notices any persistent and worrisome signs and symptoms, they should make an appointment to see a doctor.

 

However, someone should seek immediate medical help in case they experience:

 

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain
  • Bloody or black vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Bloody or black tarry stools.
     

Causes:

H. pylori bacterium causes the H. pylori infection. The primary way that this bacterium passes from one person to another is through direct contact either with fecal matter or saliva. However, it could also spread through untreated water.

 

This bacterium enters the body through the mouth and passes into the digestive system. The H. pylori bacterium is well-adopted for survival in the stomach despite the fact the stomach and its acid make a hostile environment for many bacteria. This bacterium produces an enzyme and creates a low-acid buffer zone for itself through a series of biochemical processes.
 

Complications

Complications:

Although some people with H. pylori infection develop serious complications, however, others never have any signs or symptoms and never develop any complications, the reason of which is still not clear.

 

Some of the complications that are associated with this infection include:

Stomach cancer:

This infection is a strong risk factor for certain types of stomach cancer, including gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma and adenocarcinoma.

Open sores or ulcers in the stomach and small intestine:

The majority of these ulcers are caused by H. pylori infection.

Inflammation of the stomach lining:

This infection could cause inflammation or gastritis by irritating the lining of the stomach.
 

Treatments:

To eradicate H. pylori from the body, treatment for H. pylori infection usually involves a combination of medications.

 

MEDICATIONS THAT ELIMINATE H. PYLORI FROM THE BODY:

The patient will probably be prescribed a combination of medications hoping that this strategy will help keep H. pylori from developing a resistance to one particular medication. Usually, antibiotic medications are used to treat H. pylori infection. For fourteen days, the patient will have to take two kinds of antibiotic medications. 

 

MEDICATIONS THAT REDUCE ACID IN THE STOMACH:

To help enhance the effectiveness of antibiotics, the patient may be prescribed medications that reduce acid in the stomach, which could also help alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Some of these medications are:

Histamine (H-2) blockers:

These medications include cimetidine, famotidine, nizatidine and ranitidine. The amount of acid released into the digestive tract is reduced by these medications.

Proton pump inhibitors:

These medications include rabeprazole, lansoprazole, esomeprazole, omepraxole and pantoprazole. By shutting down the "pumps" in acid-producing cells, these medications suppress acids.

 

HOW TO TEST FOR H. PYLORI AFTER TREATMENT:

Several weeks after treatment, the patient may be recommended undergoing testing for H. pylori. In order to confirm that the H. pylori bacterium is no longer present in their body and treatment was successful, they will have to undergo breath or stool tests.
This follow-up test may also show if the treatment was successful or not. If treatment wasn't successful, the patient will have to undergo treatment again but this time with a different combination of antibiotic medications.
 

Prognosis:

Not available

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