See your primary care doctor if you have signs or symptoms that indicate a complication of H. pylori infection. Your doctor may test and treat you for H. pylori infection, or refer you to a specialist who treats diseases of the digestive system (gastroenterologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well-prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet. Before your appointment, you might want to write a list that answers the following questions:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Does anything make them better or worse?
- Have your parents or siblings ever experienced similar problems?
- What medications or supplements do you take regularly?
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions to ask may help you make the most of your time together. For H. pylori infection, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- How did H. pylori infection cause the complications I'm experiencing?
- Can H. pylori cause other complications?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Do these tests require any special preparation?
- What treatments are available?
- How will I know if the treatment worked?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions that occur to you during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
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- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Do you take any over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve)?
- H. pylori and peptic ulcers. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hpylori/. Accessed Dec. 30, 2013.
- Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Dec. 31, 2013.
- Helicobacter pylori infection. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal_disorders/gastritis_and_peptic_ulcer_disease/helicobacter_pylorihelicobacter_pylori_infection.html. Accessed Jan. 3, 2014.
- Helicobacter pylori and cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/h-pylori-cancer. Accessed Jan. 3, 2014.
- Chey W, et al. American College of Gastroenterology guideline on the management of Helicobacter pylori infection. Bethesda, Md.: American College of Gastroenterology. http://gi.org/guideline/management-of-helicobacter-pylori-infection/. Accessed Dec. 30, 2013.
- Crowe SE. Bacteriology and epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 30, 2013.
- Crowe SE. Indications and diagnostic tests for Helicobacter pylori infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 30, 2013.