Roughly 30-40% of Americans get infected with Helicobacter pylori, but most don’t know they have it, because they don’t get sick. The bacteria thrive in your stomach, where they can gradually damage the lining and cause gastrointestinal problems. Dr. Krishna Rayapudi at Gastro Offices has extensive experience in identifying and treating H. pylori infections. If you have questions, or you develop symptoms like stomach pain, call the office in Hilliard, Ohio, or book an appointment online.
The experts believe that H. pylori infections spread when the bacteria is transferred from feces to the mouth. This problem develops when a person doesn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. It can also spread through water or food that’s contaminated with the bacteria.
You may pick up H. pylori by coming into contact with saliva or other body fluids of people infected with the bacteria.
After H. pylori enters your body, it settles in your stomach. Then the bacteria change their environment, releasing an enzyme that reduces acidity. As a result, your stomach’s lining weakens.
The bacteria also have a spiral shape that lets them penetrate your stomach wall, which further damages the lining. Over time, the bacteria does enough damage to the lining that it can lead to health problems such as:
It’s estimated that 10% of people who develop an H. pylori infection will develop a peptic ulcer.
When an H. pylori infection causes gastritis or a peptic ulcer, you may experience symptoms such as:
The severity of symptoms varies from one person to the next. If you have a mild infection or a small ulcer, you may not develop any symptoms.
Treatment for an H. pylori infection requires several medications to suppress and eliminate the bacteria. A typical regimen may include a proton pump inhibitor and two antibiotics.
If you have gastritis or a peptic ulcer, your treatment may also include changing your diet to avoid foods that irritate the ulcer and avoiding NSAIDs, because they can cause ulcers. If you have an ulcer, Dr. Rayapudi may prescribe other medications to protect the mucosal lining.
If you develop symptoms of an H. pylori infection, call Gastro Office or book an appointment online.