What is H. pylori?
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that infects the inner lining of the stomach. The bacteria can cause inflammation in the stomach lining, which in turn can cause ulcers.
How does someone get infected?
It is not known how people become infected with H. pylori. Infection is usually diagnosed later in life, but may have been present since childhood.
How is H. pylori diagnosed?
Mayo Clinic doctors test blood or stool samples, or both, for the bacteria and analyze breath for an enzyme produced by the bacteria. An endoscopy with a biopsy (taking a tissue sample) is often needed to confirm a diagnosis of H. pylori infection and to rule out complications that may be caused by H. pylori.
What are the symptoms of H. pylori infection?
Most people with H. pylori infection have no digestive tract symptoms. But people infected with H. pylori are much more likely to develop peptic ulcers than people who aren't infected. Ulcers associated with H. pylori can cause burning pain in the upper stomach. The pain often occurs about an hour after meals, and may worsen at night.
Do H. pylori bacteria cause ulcers?
People with peptic ulcers often have H. pylori infection. But many people with H. pylori infection never develop peptic ulcers, indicating that other factors are involved. These additional factors may include smoking and the use of medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others).
How do I get rid of H. pylori?
Antibiotics and other medications are usually needed to eliminate H. pylori infection.
Is there a risk of getting cancer?
Some evidence suggests H. pylori infection is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer.