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Helicobacter pylori infection: symptoms and treatments

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Did you know about the existence of a bacterium responsible for a large part of gastrointestinal diseases? The Helicobacter pylori bacteria cause some stomach infections such as ulcers, chronic gastritis, and even some tumors. Its main routes of infection are water, food and direct contact with other infected people. One of the characteristics that defines the disease is its absence of symptoms in many cases , so infected people are unaware that they live with this condition. However, you may have some signs such as nausea, heartburn and bloating, among others. In this FastlyHealarticle we introduce you to the symptoms and treatments of Helicobacter pylori infection .

Symptoms of Helicobacter pylori infection

In most cases of patients infected by this bacterium, there are no visible symptoms that can alert to the presence of it, so it does not always imply a problem. This is because there are more serious outbreaks of the infection and others that involve mild or even indolent consequences. In fact, when patients detect symptoms it is due to other ailments that cause them, such as peptic ulcers or gastritis. The symptoms that are detected in these cases are usually:

  • Heartburn feeling in the stomach.
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Abdominal pain that can radiate to other areas, such as the back.
  • Irritation in the stomach.
  • Feeling of having a full stomach after eating a small amount of food.

In the case of suffering from an ulcer, it is common for the symptoms to be accompanied along with others such as dark stools and anemia.

Cause and diagnosis of infection

The transmission of the bacteria can occur through the contact of a contaminated person with a healthy one, through feces or vomit. Likewise, many of the infections occur when the healthy person ingests water-containing foods that have the bacteria, such as contaminated rivers or wells, or those foods that have been washed or processed with infected water. The Helicobacter pylori bacterium is characterized by its resistance to gastric acids in the stomach and can cause various diseases:

  • Duodenal ulcer.
  • Stomach ulcer .
  • Stomach cancer.
  • Stomach lymphoma.
  • Gastritis.
  • Stomach cancer.
  • Stomach lymphoma .

There are multiple ways of diagnosing the presence of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, among which we find:

  • Urease . It is one of the easiest and fastest methods to diagnose the infection. Its use is more common to diagnose Helicobacter pylori, but not to verify its disappearance after treatment. It consists of joining a mucosa sample together with another substance, which changes color when the result is positive.
  • Breath test . This test is also simple and quick to perform, by which the patient ingests a substance called urea, which undergoes a series of changes when it comes into contact with the bacteria, allowing it to be detected through the air.
  • Serology . Its objective is to detect antibodies that fight antigens of the microorganism.
  • H.pylori antigen . It involves the analysis of a stool sample to determine if there are antigens of the bacteria in the gastrointestinal system. Antigens are substances that push the immune system to fight infection.
  • Cultivation . It is a high cost procedure that is not usually applied in most occasions. It is used to determine the sensitivity of the microorganism to different antimicrobials.
  • Histology . It consists of the observation of microorganisms to determine the presence of the bacteria and their quantity, in addition to determining the damage that may have occurred in the stomach.

Treatment of infection

The main treatment that is usually carried out to combat Helicobacter pylori infection is the administration of drugs such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which act against ulcers, along with amoxicillin and clarithromycin to fight the bacteria. However, it seems that this treatment is applied less and less as its effectiveness is questioned due to the increase in the resistance of the H.pylori bacteria. Therefore, alternative therapies have been proposed:

  • Classic quadruple therapy . It is one of those that has obtained the best results, although its administration complexity is a disadvantage. Treatment consists of bismuth, a chemical that reduces the use of antibiotics, along with other drugs that help fight infection.
  • Sequential therapy . An initial phase is carried out for five days administering PPIs and amoxicillin and, subsequently, with the administration of PPIs, clarithromycin and metronidazole. Clarithromycin has the function of fighting certain bacteria, while metronizadol acts as an antibiotic and antiparasitic.
  • Concominant therapy . This treatment has gained popularity for treating Helicobacter pylori infection by achieving optimal results in half the time of sequential treatment.

The duration of treatment varies between 7 and 14 days. Longer therapy has been shown to be more effective.

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 infection: symptoms and treatments , we recommend that you enter our Digestive system category .

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