Helicobacter pylori  or H. pylori is an infection in the stomach, and sometimes it may go unnoticed. Do you believe you have unexplained stomach issues? Stick around to see if your symptoms align with those of H. pylori.

Named after the bacterium, H. pylori occurs when the Helicobacter pylori infects your stomach. This spiral-shaped bacterium mainly infects the lining of your stomach and causes a range of gastrointestinal issues. However, despite causing a ton of gastrointestinal issues, not everyone infected with H. pylori will experience the full range of symptoms.

What causes H. pylori?

An H. pylori infection may be extremely painful, so, let’s discuss the reasons for infection. One of the biggest causes of an H. pylori infection is bad hygiene. The bacteria can spread through oral-to-oral or fecal-to-oral routes. Therefore, individuals living in crowded or unsanitary conditions are at a higher risk of contracting the bacterium.

Contrary to popular belief, the infection is not highly contagious. Typically, this bacterium only spreads within families and close-knit communities.

What are the symptoms of H. pylori?

One of the most interesting things about contracting H. pylori is that most of the people who become infected never show symptoms. Although research on the topic continues, experts cannot explain why this happens. Even so, the symptoms of the infection typically do manifest as gastritis or related peptic ulcers. While symptoms may differ, those listed below are most common in people suffering from H. pylori.

  • Abdominal pain: Dull, burning, or gnawing pain in the stomach, often between meals or during the night.
  • Bloating: Feeling of fullness and abdominal discomfort, which may be worsened after eating.
  • Nausea: Feeling queasy or having the urge to vomit.
  • Loss of appetite: Decreased desire to eat, which can contribute to weight loss over time.
  • Unexplained weight loss: Significant weight loss without intentional diet or lifestyle changes.
  • Frequent burping: Frequent belching or burping, which might be more noticeable after consuming food or beverages.
  • Acid reflux: Heartburn or acid reflux symptoms, including a burning sensation in the chest.
  • Vomiting: Nausea can lead to vomiting in some cases.
  • Dark or tarry stools: Blood in the digestive tract can cause stools to appear darker than usual.
  • Fatigue: General tiredness and lack of energy, possibly due to nutritional deficiencies.
  • Bad breath: Persistent and unpleasant breath odor.
  • Indigestion: Discomfort or a burning sensation in the upper abdomen, often after eating.
  • Anemia: pylori infection might lead to chronic bleeding in the stomach, resulting in anemia.
  • Feeling of fullness: Early satiety, feeling full shortly after beginning to eat.
  • Increased appetite: In some cases, H. pylori infection can lead to heightened appetite due to altered hormone levels.

What does H. pylori do to your body?

  1. pylori’s impact on the body is multifaceted. It can heighten levels of ghrelin, the hormone driving appetite, potentially leading to increased hunger and weight gain. Moreover, this bacterium disrupts gastric enzymes, impeding food digestion and nutrient absorption. These disturbances can cause discomfort, hinder nutrient intake, and contribute to weight loss. Additionally, H. pylori’s influence extends to the gut microbiome, where it can alter diversity and potentially contribute to weight gain by triggering metabolic imbalances. In essence, H. pylori’s effects reach beyond stomach concerns, intricately influencing weight-related processes and overall health.

How to test for H. pylori?

Like any disease, an H. pylori infection may be scary. The good thing is that there are several ways to test you for it.

  • pylori breath test (urea breath test): This non-invasive test detects the presence of H. pylori by measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in a patient’s breath after consuming a special solution containing urea. If H. pylori is present, it breaks down the urea, producing carbon dioxide that is then detected in the breath.
  • pylori blood test (serology): This blood test checks for the presence of antibodies produced by the immune system in response to an H. pylori infection. However, it doesn’t distinguish between a current or past infection and might yield false positives.
  • Stool antigen test: This test detects H. pylori antigens in a stool sample. It can be used to diagnose current infections and to confirm eradication after treatment.
  • Endoscopy with biopsy: During an endoscopy, a flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the digestive tract. Biopsy samples of the stomach lining can be taken and examined for the presence of H. pylori bacteria. This method provides direct visualization and high accuracy.
  • Rapid urease test: During an endoscopy, a small piece of tissue from the stomach lining is obtained and tested for the presence of H. pylori. If the bacteria are present, they produce an enzyme that causes a color change, indicating the infection.
  • PCR (polymerase chain reaction): PCR is a molecular technique that detects the DNA of H. pylori in a sample. It’s highly sensitive and can identify the presence of the bacterium even in small amounts.
  • Culture test: A sample of stomach tissue collected during an endoscopy can be cultured to grow H. pylori in a laboratory. This test is less commonly used due to its complexity and time-consuming nature.

Please note that the choice of test depends on factors like the patient’s symptoms, medical history, and the availability of specific tests in the healthcare facility. It’s important to consult a healthcare provider for proper assessment and selection of the most suitable testing method.

At Dr. Tara Rasta’s clinic in Anaheim, we are committed to unraveling the mysteries behind your health concerns by delving deeply into your body’s chemistry. Our approach is rooted in understanding the unique factors contributing to your health issues, which is why we offer comprehensive blood and stool testing for H. pylori. No two individuals are the same, and neither are their health journeys. Blood and stool tests enable us to gather crucial information about your body’s internal workings. Blood tests provide a snapshot of your nutrient levels, hormonal balance, and markers of inflammation. Stool tests, on the other hand, uncover details about your digestive health, gut microbiome composition, and the presence of pathogens.

Your journey toward improved health begins with a simple step: an appointment with Dr. Tara Rasta. Say goodbye to your mysterious health problems at (714) 679-8608.

For correct formatting of scientific names in Chicago style, the bacterium’s name should be underlined or italicized. If the client follows AP style, then proper capitalization is sufficient (and is observed here).