It’s estimated that 30-40% of Americans are infected with Helicobacter pylori, they just don’t know it because many never get sick. But when it goes untreated, it stays in your stomach, where it can ultimately cause a stomach ulcer or cancer. The doctors at Triborough GI perform a quick and simple test in the office that shows whether you have the bacteria. If you develop stomach pain or nausea that persists, schedule an appointment online or call one of the offices in Brooklyn, the Bronx, or Staten Island, New York.
Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, is a bacterium that’s unique because it survives in stomach acid. As H. pylori bacteria attack the lining of your stomach, they secrete an enzyme that neutralizes stomach acid. Then the bacteria infect your stomach lining, where they can cause:
H. pylori is the most common cause of stomach ulcers and chronic gastritis. It’s also a primary cause of gastric or stomach cancer.
H. pylori is a common infection that doesn’t cause illness in most people. Once you get an H. pylori infection, it can last a lifetime if it goes untreated. In many patients, it causes such a mild infection that you don’t know it’s there.
The bacteria spread through contact with a contaminated person or by consuming food and water containing the bacteria. It can also be passed through contact with vomit or stool.
If you develop symptoms, you’ll experience problems such as:
Gastritis, a stomach or duodenal ulcer, and stomach cancer can all cause bleeding that passes through your GI tract and leaves the body in your stool. This type of blood in stool makes your bowel movements appear black and tarry. If you notice this symptom, schedule an appointment at Triborough GI for a thorough checkup.
The doctors at Triborough GI test for H. pylori using a urea breath test. During this test, you drink a fluid that contains carbon molecules. If you have an H. pylori infection, the carbon is released when the beverage is digested in your stomach. The carbon leaves your body as you exhale, so you only need to breathe into a bag, and your doctor uses a device to detect carbon molecules.
Treatment for H. pylori usually includes two antibiotics, to prevent the bacteria from developing resistance to one specific antibiotic, together with acid-suppressing drugs such as proton pump inhibitors. The antibiotics take care of the bacteria, while the proton pump inhibitors give your stomach time to heal.
If you develop GI problems or black stool, schedule an appointment online or call Triborough GI.