H. Pylori Breath Test
What is Helicobacter Pylori?
Helicobacter Pylori(H. Pylori) is a bacterium that is the main cause of ulcers occurring in the lining of the upper part of the small intestine, these are called duodenal ulcers, and in the lining of the stomach, gastric ulcers. Initially, the bacterium causes inflammation called gastritis or duodenitis. Many people may be unaware of this inflammation, and only experience symptoms when an ulcer develops, perhaps years later.
Not all people infected with H. Pylori will develop an ulcer. The methods by which this bacterium is passed from one person to another are still not understood completely. However, it is thought that people infected with the bacterium are only capable of passing it to others for a short period, a few days to weeks. It may be passed via the fingers through contact with vomit or stools from an infected person. Therefore, good hygiene may decrease the risk of the bacterium being spread. However, it is thought that people living in the U.S. are unlikely to pass it on and do not need to take any special measures to avoid spreading it to others.
What are the symptoms?
The first symptoms of infection with H. Pylori are usually those of an ulcer. Ulcers cause pain, which can vary in intensity from mild discomfort to severe pain. The pain may last from minutes to hours and may come and go for several days or weeks. The pain may be severe enough to wake you during the night.
If you have an ulcer, you may feel a dull or burning pain in your belly. It may come and go, but you’ll probably feel it most when your stomach is empty, such as between meals or in the middle of the night. It can last for a few minutes or for hours. You may feel better after you eat, drink milk, or take an antacid.
Other signs of an ulcer include:
Ulcers can bleed into your stomach or intestines, which can be dangerous to your health. Get medical help right away if you have any of these symptoms:
Stool that is bloody, dark red, or black
Feeling very tired for no reason
Pale skin color
Vomit that has blood or looks like coffee grounds
Severe, sharp stomach pain
It’s not common, but H. pylori infection can cause stomach cancer. The disease has few symptoms at first, such as heartburn. Over time, you may notice:
Treatments for H. Pylori Bacteria
If testing indicates you are positive for H. pylori, you’ll need treatment to kill the bacteria. You will be prescribed a 10-14 day medication regimen to treat H. Pylori.
Antibiotics to kill the bacteria in your body
Drugs that reduce the amount of acid in your stomach by blocking the tiny pumps that produce it.
Medicines that block the chemical histamine, which prompts your stomach to make more acid.
Approximately 6-8 weeks after you finish your treatment, your doctor may test your breath again to make sure the infection is gone.