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Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Helicobacter pylori?

H. pylori is a common type of bacteria that grows in the digestive tract and has a tendency to attack the stomach lining. It infects the stomachs of roughly 60 percentTrusted Source of the world?s adult population. H. pylori infections are usually harmless, but they?re responsible for the majority of ulcers in the stomach and small intestine.

The ?H? in the name is short for Helicobacter. ?Helico? means spiral, which indicates that the bacteria are spiral shaped.

H. pylori often infect your stomach during childhood. While infections with this strain of bacteria typically don?t cause symptoms, they can lead to diseases in some people, including peptic ulcers, and an inflammatory condition inside your stomach known as gastritis.

H. pylori are adapted to live in the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach. These bacteria can change the environment around them and reduce its acidity so they can survive. The spiral shape of H. pylori allows them to penetrate your stomach lining, where they?re protected by mucus and your body?s immune cells are not able to reach them. The bacteria can interfere with your immune response and ensure that they?re not destroyed. This can lead to stomach problems. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection occurs when H. pylori bacteria infect your stomach. This usually happens during childhood. A common cause of peptic ulcers, H. pylori infection may be present in more than half the people in the world.

Most people don't realize they have H. pylori infection, because they never get sick from it. If you develop signs and symptoms of a peptic ulcer, your doctor will probably test you for H. pylori infection. If you have H. pylori infection, it can be treated with antibiotics.

Helicobacter pylori is also known as H. Pylori. Helicobacter pylori belongs under the category of Bacterial disease. Generally Male, Female, Child are the victim of the Helicobacter pylori. Seriousness of this disease is Low.

Symptoms of Helicobacter pylori are :

  • heartburn
  • Weight loss
  • Sudden, noticeable weight loss can happen after a stressful event, although it can also be a sign of a serious illness.

    It's normal to lose a noticeable amount of weight after the stress of changing jobs, divorce, redundancy or bereavement.

    Weight often returns to normal when you start to feel happier, after you've had time to grieve or get used to the change. Counselling and support may be needed to help you get to this stage.

    Significant weight loss can also be the result of an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. If you think you have an eating disorder, talk to someone you trust and consider speaking to your GP. There are also several organisations that can provide you with information and advice, such as the eating disorders charity Beat.

    If your weight loss wasn't due to one of the causes mentioned, and you didn't lose weight through dieting or exercising, see your GP, as you may have an illness that needs treating.

  • abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain has many potential causes. The most common causes ? such as gas pains, indigestion or a pulled muscle ? usually aren't serious. Other conditions may require more-urgent medical attention.

    While the location and pattern of abdominal pain can provide important clues, its time course is particularly useful when determining its cause.

    Acute abdominal pain develops, and often resolves, over a few hours to a few days. Chronic abdominal pain may be intermittent, or episodic, meaning it may come and go. This type of pain may be present for weeks to months, or even years. Some conditions cause progressive pain, which steadily gets worse over time.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue is a constant state of tiredness, even when you?ve gotten your usual amount of sleep. This symptom develops over time and causes a drop in your physical, emotional, and psychological energy levels. You?re also more likely to feel unmotivated to participate in or do activities you normally enjoy.

    Some other signs of fatigue include feeling:

    • physically weaker than usual
    • tired, despite rest
    • as though you have less stamina or endurance than normal
    • mentally tired and moody

    Loss of appetite means you don?t have the same desire to eat as you used to. Signs of decreased appetite include not wanting to eat, unintentional weight loss, and not feeling hungry. The idea of eating food may make you feel nauseous, as if you might vomit after eating. Long-term loss of appetite is also known as anorexia, which can have a medical or psychological cause.

    It may be a warning sign from your body when you feel fatigue and loss of appetite together. Read on to see what conditions may cause these symptoms.

  • Nausea
  • Nausea and vomiting are common signs and symptoms that can be caused by numerous conditions. Nausea and vomiting most often are due to viral gastroenteritis ? often mistakenly called stomach flu ? or the morning sickness of early pregnancy.

    Many medications can cause nausea and vomiting, as can general anesthesia for surgery. Rarely, nausea and vomiting may indicate a serious or even life-threatening problem.

  • Medium Fever
  • A fever is a higher-than-normal body temperature. It?s a sign of your body's natural fight against infection.

    • For adults, a fever is when your temperature is higher than 100.4F.
    • For kids, a fever is when their temperature is higher than 100.4F (measured rectally); 99.5F (measured orally); or 99F (measured under the arm).

    The average normal body temperature is 98.6 Fahrenheit (or 37 Celsius). When you or your child?s temperature rises a few degrees above normal, it?s a sign that the body is healthy and fighting infection. In most cases, that?s a good thing.

    But when a fever rises above 102F it should be treated at home and, if necessary, by your healthcare provider if the fever doesn?t go down after a few days.

    Causes

    Helicobacter pylori can be caused due to:

    It?s still not known exactly how H. pylori infections spread. The bacteria have coexisted with humans for many thousands of years. The infections are thought to spread from one person?s mouth to another. They may also be transferred from feces to the mouth. This can happen when a person does not wash their hands thoroughly after using the bathroom. H. pylori can also spread through contact with contaminated water or food.

    The bacteria are believed to cause stomach problems when they penetrate the stomach?s mucous lining and generate substances that neutralize stomach acids. This makes the stomach cells more vulnerable to the harsh acids. Stomach acid and H. pylori together irritate the stomach lining and may cause ulcers in your stomach or duodenum, which is the first part of your small intestine.

    What kind of precaution should be taken in Helicobacter pylori?

    You can protect yourself from getting an H. pylori infection with the same steps you take to keep other germs at bay:

    • Wash your hands after you use the bathroom and before you prepare or eat food. Teach your children to do the same.
    • Avoid food or water that?s not clean.
    • Don?t eat anything that isn?t cooked thoroughly.
    • Avoid food served by people who haven?t washed their hands.

    Though stress, spicy foods, alcohol, and smoking don?t cause ulcers, they can keep them from healing quickly or make your pain worse. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage your stress, improve your diet, and, if you smoke, how you can get help to quit.

    Treatment for the Helicobacter pylori

    Diagnosis:

    If you don?t have symptoms of an ulcer, your doctor probably won?t test you for H. pylori. But if you have them now or have in the past, it?s best to get tested. Medicines like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also damage your stomach lining, so it?s important to find out what?s causing your symptoms so you can get the right treatment.

    To start, your doctor will ask you about your medical history, your symptoms, and any medicines you take. Then she?ll give you a physical exam, including pressing on your belly to check for swelling, tenderness, or pain. You may also have:

    • Tests of your blood and stool, which can help find an infection
    • Urea breath test. You?ll drink a special liquid that has a substance called urea. Then you?ll breathe into a bag, which your doctor will send to a lab for testing. If you have H. pylori, the bacteria will change the urea in your body into carbon dioxide, and lab tests will show that your breath has higher than normal levels of the gas.

    To look more closely at your ulcers, your doctor may use:

    • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. In a hospital, a doctor will use a tube with a small camera, called an endoscope, to look down your throat and into your stomach and the upper part of your small intestine. The procedure may also be used to collect a sample that will be examined for the presence of the bacteria. You may be asleep or awake during the procedure, but you?ll get medicine to make you more comfortable.
    • Upper GI tests. In a hospital, you?ll drink a liquid that has a substance called barium, and your doctor will give you an X-ray. The fluid coats your throat and stomach and makes them stand out clearly on the image.
    • Computed tomography (CT) scan. It?s a powerful X-ray that makes detailed pictures of the inside of your body.

    If you have H. pylori, your doctor may also test you for stomach cancer. This includes:

    • Physical exam
    • Blood tests to check for anemia, when your body doesn?t have enough red blood cells. It could happen if you have a tumor that bleeds.
    • Fecal occult blood test, which checks your stool for blood that?s not visible to the naked eye
    • Endoscopy
    • Biopsy, when a doctor takes a small piece of tissue from your stomach to look for signs of cancer. Your doctor may do this during an endoscopy.
    • Tests that make detailed pictures of the insides of your body, such as a CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

    Treatment:

    H. pylori infections are usually treated with at least two different antibiotics at once, to help prevent the bacteria from developing a resistance to one particular antibiotic. Your doctor also will prescribe or recommend an acid-suppressing drug, to help your stomach lining heal.

    Drugs that can suppress acid include:

    • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These drugs stop acid from being produced in the stomach. Some examples of PPIs are omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) and pantoprazole (Protonix).
    • Histamine (H-2) blockers. These medications block a substance called histamine, which triggers acid production. One example is cimetidine (Tagamet HB).
    • Bismuth subsalicylate. More commonly known by the brand name Pepto-Bismol, this drug works by coating the ulcer and protecting it from stomach acid.

    Your doctor may recommend that you undergo testing for H. pylori at least four weeks after your treatment. If the tests show the treatment was unsuccessful, you may undergo another round of treatment with a different combination of antibiotic medications.

    Possible complication with Helicobacter pylori

    Complications associated with H. pylori infection include:

    • Ulcers. H. pylori can damage the protective lining of your stomach and small intestine. This can allow stomach acid to create an open sore (ulcer). About 10% of people with H. pylori will develop an ulcer.
    • Inflammation of the stomach lining. H. pylori infection can irritate your stomach, causing inflammation (gastritis).
    • Stomach cancer. H. pylori infection is a strong risk factor for certain types of stomach cancer.

    References:

    1 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/h-pylori/symptoms-causes/syc-20356171 2 https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/h-pylori-helicobacter-pylori#2-5 3 https://www.healthline.com/health/helicobacter-pylori#outlook 4 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311636 5 medicinenet.com/helicobacter_pylori/article.htm 6 https://medlineplus.gov/helicobacterpyloriinfections.html 7 https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/h-pylori.html

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