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TriStar Centennial Medical Center

Helicobacter Pylori Infection


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that can infect the stomach and intestines. It can lead to:

Gastric Ulcer
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This condition occurs when an infected person passes the bacteria to someone else. The bacteria are spread through:

  • Fecal-oral contact
  • Oral-oral contact

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your risk of H. pylori infection include being in:

  • Close contact with an infected person
  • A crowded and unsanitary living environment


In most cases, there are not any symptoms. However, if someone develops an ulcer or gastritis, symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain that may:
    • Awaken you from sleep
    • Change when you eat
    • Last for a few minutes or several hours
    • Feel like unusually strong hunger pangs
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • Burping
  • Vomiting blood
  • Lightheadedness


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Stool test
  • Endoscopy—a thin, lighted tube inserted down your throat to look inside your stomach and to take tissue samples for testing
  • Urea breath test—a test that can help detect if there is a current infection


Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Your doctor may recommend:

  • Antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection
  • H-2 blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Antacids


To reduce your chances of getting H. pylori infection, take these steps:

  • Wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.
  • Drink water from a safe source.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking increases the chance of getting an ulcer.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
  • Review Date: 02/2015 -
  • Update Date: 09/22/2014 -
  • Gastro—American Gastroenterological Association

  • The American College of Gastroenterology

  • Canadian Association of Gastroenterology

  • Health Canada

  • Helicobacter pylori. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Accessed April 12, 2011.

  • Helicobacter pylori infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated April 29, 2013. Accessed May 14, 2013.

  • Travelers health helicobacter pylori. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated July 1, 2011. Accessed May 14, 2013.

  • Weyermann M, Rothenbacher D, Brenner H. Acquisition of Helicobacter pylori infection in early childhood: independent contributions of infected mothers, fathers, and siblings. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104(1):182-189.

  • 9/22/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Fuccio L, Zagari RM, et al. Meta-analysis: Can Helicobacter pylori eradication treatment reduce the risk for gastric cancer? Ann Intern Med. 200921;151(2):121-128.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. TriStar Health does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.