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Helicobacter Pylori infection

Posted Nov 13 2010 12:00am

H. pylori infection is present in many individuals but it doesn't cause any signs or symptoms. H. pylori is a bacterium that infects the stomach or the duodenum. In some people, it can cause serious complications as gastric ulcer or cancer.
Infection is usually acquired during childhood. The exact route is unknown but it can be transmitted by oral-oral or kissing. 
Once you are infected, it will persist for life unless it is treated. This bacteria can survive in the acidity of the stomach as it produces an enzyme to create an adequate pH for its survival.

Symptoms:
In many cases, it is asymptomatic (causing no symptoms). In some cases, it can cause the following symptoms:
  • Burning pain in the abdomen.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
If you are unaware of this infection, it can lead to a peptic ulcer or gastric cancer. 

Peptic ulcer:
H.pylori is the major cause of peptic ulcer.

Symptoms of a peptic ulcer include:- Burning epigastric pain: an individual who can point using a single finger to the epigastric pain, is highly suggestive of a peptic ulcer. The charcteristics of pain is that it is worse when hungry.- Back pain- Nausea- Anorexia
Gastric cancer:Can H.pylori infection cause gastric cancer ? Yes, chronic H.pylori gastritis can cause gastric cancer. 
Clinical presentation:  - Presence of an epigastric or abdominal mass + epigastric pain
- Hard nodular liver
- Ascites
- Lymphadenopathy

What are the investigations that are done to detect H. pylori infection ? - Serological tests to detect the presence of IgG antibodies.- Breath test: a quick and reliable method. It is used as a screening test. - Endoscopy: a sample is taken from the stomach and duodenum and checked for the presence of the bacterium.

Treatment of H.pylori infection: 
H. pylori should be eradicated by the use of triple therapy. It consists of: 
- Tetracycline/ amoxicillin
- Colloidal bismuth
- Metronidazole


If there is a peptic ulcer, your doctor will prescribe an H2-receptor blocker or a proton pump inhibitor.Besides you should follow these instructions:
- Have small frequent meals. Avoid heavy meals
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen
- Avoid coffee and tea
- Avoid any spicy diet


Surgery can be done in cases of perforation or severe hemorrhage 

We hope this article was interesting to you. Thank you for reading it. 
 


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