If you have never heard of H. pylori you are not alone. Many patients are unaware of this common infection that affects people of all backgrounds. Helicobacter pylori or “H. pylori” is a bacterial infection that occurs in your stomach. While the incidence of H. pylori is higher in developing countries, the CDC estimates that 35-40% of Americans have an active H. pylori infection at any time.
H. pylori may be passed through direct contact with saliva, vomit, or fecal matter or through contaminated water or food. Many people do not have symptoms and therefore, do not know that they have an infection. Those that do have symptoms, often go to their PCP for assistance.
Common symptoms of H. pylori include:
- Persistent nausea
- Loss of appetite
- Burning pain or ache in your stomach
- Pain improved with eating
- Frequent burping
- Feeling bloated
- Unintentional weight loss
Emergent symptoms of H. pylori include:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bloody or black stools
- Vomiting blood or black coffee-ground material
Why Should You Care?
It is important that you do not ignore any of these symptoms, as they can lead to life-threatening complications if left untreated. Complications of the H. pylori infection include inflammation of the stomach lining, stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. The CDC estimates that 20% of Americans with H. pylori will develop gastric ulcers throughout their lifetime. Not only can this be extremely uncomfortable but can lead to bleeding and potential irreversible damage.
Sapphire Health and Wellness is equipped to diagnose and treat H. pylori through non-invasive procedures. Testing for H. pylori includes a breath test, where a sample of the saliva is sent to the lab for analysis. Preparation for this test involves no use of PPIs (Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Zegerid, AcipHex, Dexilant, or Protonix) or H2 blockers (Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid, or Axid) for 14 days prior to testing. It is also recommended not to chew gum for 24-hours prior to your breath test. Results usually take 3-4 days and must be repeated 4-6 weeks after treatment to ensure that the infection has fully healed.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office and our staff will guide you or help you make an appointment with one of our caring providers.
Main office – (480) 219-7810