Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori is a type of bacteria that can enter your body and grows in the digestive tract. They don’t affect you immediately but can cause sores, called ulcers, in the lining of your stomach after several years. It is a very common infection and according to a report, around 60 per cent of the world’s adults are infected with it. But most people don’t have any problem because of it. People can protect themselves from bacteria with good health habits.
Those with ulcers can feel burning pain now and then. You mostly feel it when your stomach is empty. It can last for a few minutes for hours. Eating or taking antacid can make you feel better. Some other signs of ulcers are – burping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, etc. Take medical help on priority if you have any of these problems – trouble breathing, stool that is bloody, dark red, or black, vomit that has blood and severe, sharp stomach pain.
In rare cases, H. pylori can cause stomach cancer.
Doctors will physically examine by pressing belly to check for swelling, tenderness or pain. Apart from this, you may get your blood and stool tested that can help find an infection. Endoscopy and biopsy is also a way to diagnose it.
It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to ulcers caused by H. pylori. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria in your body, such as amoxicillin, metronidazole (Flagyl), clarithromycin (Biaxin), tetracycline (Sumycin), or tinidazole (Tindamax).
Drugs like esomeprazole (Nexium), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix), or rabeprazole (Aciphex) can reduce the amount of acid in your stomach by blocking the tiny pumps that produce it.
You can prevent yourself from the same steps you take to keep other germs at bay i.e. keep your hands clean. Wash your hand properly after you use the bathroom and clean it before you cook food or eat. Avoid spicy foods, smoke, and alcohol as they can stop ulcers from healing properly.