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H Pylori Test

H Pylori

An H pylori test, also known as a helicobacter pylori test is used to determine whether or not an individual has an H pylori infection.  H pylori is a microaerophilic bacterium associated with gastrointestinal problems such as acute or chronic gastritis, gastric ulcers, and stomach cancer.  H pylori can be found in the stomach and in the upper portion of the intestines.  It survives the acidic stomach conditions by burrowing into the mucus lining of the stomach where conditions are less intense.  H pylori is present in more than 50 percent of the population, but more than 80 percent of those infected do not have any signs or symptoms.

 

H Pylori Symptoms

Although most people do not have any outward signs or symptoms, when symptoms are present they can be quite severe.  Signs and symptoms of an H pylori infection can include stomachache, burning feeling in the abdomen, decreased interest in food, vomiting, weight loss, bloating, and an increase in burping.  One should call a doctor right away if one’s vomit or stool is black or if one has severe or persistent abdominal pain.  People who have the infection but are asymptomatic can pass the infection to another individual who will experience symptoms.  If one has reason to believe that he or she has the infection, symptomatic or not, one should consider getting tested.

 

What causes H Pylori?

Doctors and medical researchers are not sure what causes the h pylori infection.

 

How do you get H Pylori?

Doctors believe that it is passed from person to person through contact with another individual’s saliva, vomit, or fecal matter.  Contaminated eating utensils or contaminated food or drink can also spread the infection.  Therefore, one of the main risk factors for h pylori is living with someone who is already infected.  Age is a risk factor also, with children being much more likely to contract H pylori. Living in a crowded living environment increases the risk of spreading the condition.  Western countries have seen a decrease in the prevalence of h pylori cases, whereas people who live in developing countries or people who do not have consistent access to clean water are at greater risk. 

 

How the Blood Test Works

The helicobacter pylori blood test works by testing one’s blood for h pylori antibodies.  Antibodies are a type of protein released by the immune system in response to the presence of foreign substances such as infection.  H pylori antibodies are uniquely crafted to counteract the negative effects of the h pylori infection.  Antibodies created in response to h pylori look different than antibodies that were created for some other purpose.  If these antibodies are present in the blood, it means that an individual is either currently infected or has been infected with h pylori.  After an individual has been treated for h pylori, the h pylori blood test will still read positive.  There is no preparation required for an h pylori antibody test, and results can normally be processed within one day of the blood draw. 

 

H Pylori Treatment

H. pylori infections are usually treated with two varieties of antibiotics at once, to help prevent the bacteria from developing a resistance to one particular antibiotic. Your doctor also will prescribe an acid-suppressing drug, to help your stomach lining heal.

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