Helicobacter pylori is the name of the bacterium that most causes chronic bacterial infections and that, due to its ability to colonize the stomach, is the leading cause of gastrointestinal disease: chronic gastritis, gastric or duodenal ulcer, primary tumors. This bacillus can attack people of any age, but adults have a higher risk of contracting it than children.
When this bacterium infects the gastric system of a child, it is important that the pediatrician knows how to recognize the symptoms in time to provide the appropriate treatment and prevent the bacteria from continuing to reproduce, since when Helicobacter pylori colonizes the stomach it is capable of causing damage severe to the stomach, either through enzyme production or by causing a series of immune responses. As children do not always know how to express their symptoms, the diagnosis of this condition can be much more complicated, for this reason at FastlyHealwe have prepared this article on Helicobacter pylori in children: causes, symptoms and treatment .
Table of Contents
Transmission routes and causes of contagion
For Helicobacter pylori infection to take place, there are three transmission routes that are the most common in the entire population:
- From person to person: when the child’s parents or someone very close to him are infected with Helicobacter pylori, the incidence of infection is much higher.
- Fecal-oral route: developing populations present a greater number of cases of Helicobacter pylori infections. Contact with sewage would be the most common transmission route in this case.
- Oral-oral: it is believed that the oral cavity can naturally store this bacteria.
Risk factors for Helicobacter pylori
We have already mentioned the main transmission routes by which the body can be affected by this bacillus, now it is important to recognize some habits that are considered the main causes of contagion and that are recommended to avoid as a preventive measure, especially when someone close to the child has or had Helicobacter pylori:
- Share glasses, cutlery or toothbrush.
- Storing food improperly.
- Wash vegetables and greens with contaminated water.
- Drinking contaminated water or being in contact with infected water from wells and rivers.
- Not properly cleaning the child’s pacifiers.
Symptoms of Helicobacter pylori infection in children
In some cases, the child does not have apparent symptoms of Helicobacter pylori infection, especially if the infection is recent. However, as the bacteria gain ground in the stomach and reproduce, the discomfort does not take long to appear. The symptoms of Helicobacter pylori infection in children are:
- Abdominal pain in the center of the stomach or navel usually 30 minutes after each meal.
- Stomach pain at night or when the stomach is empty.
- Nausea that relieves vomiting, which causes increased frequency of hunger.
- Feeling of abdominal fullness.
- Loss of weight and appetite.
- Protein loss, better known as enteropathy, is common in children.
- Delayed weight and height.
- Chronic diarrhea.
- Delayed puberty in preteens.
- Iron deficiency anemia with no apparent cause and that does not respond to treatment.
Diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection in children
There are many ways to diagnose the presence of Helicobacter pylori in children, however, the most important thing is to take the child’s symptoms, since they are the main indicator to suspect the presence of this bacillus and to be able to perform the necessary tests to confirm the diagnosis. In children, the following tests are usually performed to check for the presence of the bacteria in the stomach:
- Breath test : it is a simple and very easy test to carry out, it is only necessary for the child to take a substance known as urea, which, when in contact with Helicobacter pylori, begins to present a series of changes that allow detecting the contagion through the air.
- Urease test . It is an endoscopic test in which a test of the child’s stomach lining is taken and mixed together with a reagent. Color changes in the mucosa show contagion. Like the breath test, this test only serves to diagnose the presence of the bacteria in the body, it does not allow us to know the havoc it has caused.
- Stool test . It is also possible to detect Helicobacter pylori through the microbiological study of the child’s feces.
- Endoscopically . An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is necessary to diagnose the type of gastrointestinal disease that the bacillus has produced. This test is more invasive and allows the taking of samples to perform biopsies and determine the sensitivity of the bacteria to antibiotics.
Helicobacter pylori treatment in children
Helicobacter pylori is a very difficult bacterium to eliminate from the body of children and adults, in most cases it is recommended the combination of two antibiotics that act very potently to eradicate the bacillus before it continues its stomach colonization. Antibiotics should be consumed for at least two weeks (15 days) and are prescribed together with a gastric protector that will help block stomach acids to reduce stomach movements and gastric routes.
In the following FastlyHealarticle you will find the diet for Helicobacter pylori while the treatment lasts.
Tips to prevent helicobacter pylori in children
- Always keep the child’s hands clean and wash them with antibacterial soap.
- Wash your hands before and after eating.
- Consume filter water or mineral water.
- Cook food with filtered water.
- Do not consume raw vegetables without being washed and disinfected.
- Avoid contact with infected people and pets.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Helicobacter Pylori in children: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.