Center for Digestive Diseases

UNM Hospitals Center
for Digestive Diseases

1001 Martin Luther King Ave. NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106

(505)272-2530 or

UNMH: (505)272-6839
CDD: (505)925-7849

H pylori

What is H.pylori?

H. pylori is a type of bacteria that can reside or infect the stomach. Many people have H. pylori infection. Most of the time, H. pylori infection does not lead to any problems or cause any symptoms. But in some people, H. pylori infection leads to problems that can cause symptoms. These problems can include open sores, which are called “ulcers,” on the lining of a person’s stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine), or stomach cancer.

What are the symptoms of H.pylori?

Most people with H. pylori infection have no symptoms. Some people with H. pylori infection may experience pain in the upper belly, bloating, nausea, or vomiting.  H. pylori infection can cause stomach or duodenum ulcers. Common symptoms of ulcers can include pain in the upper belly, feeling bloated, feeling full after eating a small amount of food, not feeling hungry, nausea or vomiting, or dark or black-colored bowel movements.

What causes H.pylori infection?

H. Pylori bacteria can be acquired at any age even at early age of life. The risk of acquiring H. pylori infection is related to socioeconomic status and living conditions early in life. Factors such as overcrowding, number of siblings, sharing a bed, and lack of running water have all been linked to a higher rate of H. pylori infection. The route by which infection occurs remains unknown. Person-to-person transmission of H. pylori through ingestion of contaminated food or water seems to be most likely.

How is H.pylori diagnosed?

There are different tests that doctors can do to diagnose H. pylori infection. These can include:

  • Blood tests.
  • Breath tests: These tests measure substances in a person’s breath after he or she has been given a special liquid to drink.
  • Stool test.
  • Biopsy from the stomach: A tissue sample of the stomach can be obtained during endoscopy and send to the lab to be examined under the microscope. Endoscopy is a procedure where a doctor insert a flexible small tube with camera at the end and examine the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.

What is the treatment for H.pylori?

H. pylori infection is treated with medicines. Most people need to take 3 or more medicines for 1 to 2 weeks. These can include:

  • Medicines to reduce the amount of acid that the stomach makes.
  • Different types of antibiotics Treatment of H. pylori infection can help ulcers heal, prevent ulcers from coming back, reduce the chance that an ulcer will get worse.