Infection with Helicobacter Pylori is a very common disease worldwide. This bacterium lodges in the stomach and causes a variety of symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and even gastric ulcers.
Although H. pylori infection is very common, many people may not realize they have it because symptoms may be mild or nonexistent.
If not treated in time, this infection causes serious complications, such as stomach cancer. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if such an infection is suspected.
OurEupnea Clinic is an excellent option if you are looking for medical tests and treatments for various types of pathologies. We have a team of highly trained medical professionals and state-of-the-art technology. Do not hesitate to contact us to receive the attention you need.
In the following, we will go deeper into the definition of this type of stomach infection and its main consequences.
What is Helicobacter Pylori infection?
Infection with Helicobacter Pylori is a disease caused by the bacterium of the same name.
This bacterium lodges in the lining of the stomach and duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.which is the first part of the small intestine.
H. pylori infection is very common worldwide and is transmitted mainly by the oral-oral, oral-fecal route. Also, through contaminated food and water. Most people with H. pylori infection have no symptoms.
Causes of Helicobacter Pylori infection
Although it is not known exactly how H. pylori is transmitted, it is believed that it is spread from person to person through saliva, vomit or feces.. Some factors that can increase the risk of infection include:
- Living in an area with high rates of H. pylori infection.
- Having close contact with an infected person.
- Consuming food or water contaminated with H. pylori.
- Having a weakened immune system.
- In addition, long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as tobacco and alcohol use, have also been shown to increase the risk of developing ulcers and other H. pylori-related gastrointestinal conditions.
Symptoms of Helicobacter Pylori infection
As we pointed out before, Helicobacter Pylori infection may not present symptoms in many people. however, in other cases it causes a variety of symptoms, such as:
- Abdominal Pain: The pain may be intermittent or constant and may be described as burning or dull aching.
- Nausea and vomiting: These symptoms can be persistent and may worsen after meals.
- Bloating: Abdominal swelling and a feeling of fullness are also common.
- Weight loss: H. Pylori infection can cause unintentional weight loss.
- Anemia: The infection causes a loss of blood in the stomach, which can cause anemia.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): H. Pylori infection causes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach to weaken, causing heartburn and reflux.
- Headache: Some studies suggest that H. Pylori infection may be linked to chronic headaches.
Risk factors associated with the disease
To tell the truth, there are several factors that increase the possibility of suffering from this disease. Some of the most important are mentioned below:
- The infection is more common in people older than 60 years.
- This disease occurs mostly in people of Latin American, African or Asian origin.
- It is common in people who live in areas with poor living conditions, such as overcrowded areas, poor sanitation, and lack of access to drinking water.
- There is an increased risk of infection in people with a family history of the disease.
- The bacteria can be transmitted through contaminated food and water.
- Tobacco increases the risk of developing stomach ulcers, which in turn can increase the risk of H. Pylori infection.
The most common complications associated with Helicobacter Pylori infection are the following:
- Stomach and duodenal ulcers: Helicobacter Pylori infection can cause ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. These sores can bleed or perforate and require urgent medical attention.
- Chronic gastritis: H. Pylori infection can cause chronic inflammation of the stomach lining (chronic gastritis).
- Gastric cancer: H. pylori infection increases the risk of gastric cancer, especially in older people or those with a chronic, untreated infection.
How is Helicobacter Pylori infection detected?
Currently, there are many methods to detect Helicobacter Pylori infection. Among some of the most common medical tests we have the following:
- Urea breath test: This test measures the presence of carbon dioxide in the breath after drinking a carbon-labeled urea solution. If H. pylori is present in the stomach, it breaks down urea and releases carbon dioxide, which is detected in the breath.
- Fecal antigen test: this test detects the presence of H. pylori antigens in a stool sample.
- Blood test: Antibodies against H. pylori can be looked for in a blood sample. However, this method is not always accurate and cannot distinguish between a current infection and a previous infection.
- Endoscopy and biopsy: During an endoscopy, a tissue sample may be taken from the lining of the stomach to be tested for H. pylori.
It is important to note that while these tests are helpful in detecting the presence of Helicobacter Pylori, they do not determine how serious the infection is or whether it has caused damage to the stomach or small intestine.
Treatments for Helicobacter Pylori Infection
Medical advances make it possible to treat this and other diseases from different approaches, using less and less complex treatments. For example, they can be mentioned:
Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment for H. Pylori infection. The most commonly used are the amoxicillin, clarithromycin and metronidazole. Sometimes they are used in combination to avoid bacterial resistance.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
These medications reduce the production of stomach acid, which helps relieve symptoms and heal stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter Pylori.. Examples include omeprazole, lansoprazole and esomeprazole.
Bismuth Subsalicylate helps protect the stomach lining from inflammation and irritation. Thanks to this, it is possible to alleviate the symptoms of H. pylori infection. Also can help kill the bacteria.
Combination therapies including two or more of the above drugs are often used to achieve greater efficacy and prevent antibiotic resistance.
How to prevent Helicobacter Pylori infection?
Prevention of Helicobacter Pylori infection involves measures to reduce the risk of exposure to the bacteria and prevent its spread. Some general recommendations are as follows:
- Handwashing: Wash your hands regularly and properly to reduce the risk of exposure to H. pylori and other bacteria.
- Eating safe food: Avoid eating foods that may be contaminated with H. pylori, such as undercooked food, untreated water, and unpasteurized dairy products.
- Food Hygiene: Make sure food is handled and stored properly to prevent bacterial contamination.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of H. pylori infection and associated complications, such as stomach ulcers and gastric cancer.
When to consult the doctor?
It is essential that you regularly attend a trusted doctor to address any health issue. Now, in this particular case, before symptoms of gastritis or ulcers; seek immediate medical attention to rule out infection Helicobacter Pylori.
There are some key symptoms that you should pay particular attention to, such as:
- If you have strong and constant stomach pain that even prevents you from falling asleep or you wake up while resting because of the pain.
- If you notice stools with blood or black color.
- In the case of having vomit with blood or black color. Similarly, if the vomit looks like coffee grounds.
Request a consultation with our specialists
Helicobacter Pylori infection causes a variety of complications, including stomach ulcers, gastric cancer, and anemia.
It is important to prevent H. pylori infection through hygiene measures and appropriate treatment if infection occurs.
In addition, it is advisable to regularly visit the doctor to detect and treat any possible H. pylori infection and prevent complications.
If you need specialized medical attention, Clínica Eupnea is an excellent option, since we have a team of highly trained health professionals and offer a wide range of high-quality medical services.
Remember that your health is the most important thing. Therefore, do not hesitate to come to us if you have any concerns or symptoms.