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HealthInfo Canterbury

H. pylori

tummy painHelicobacter pylori (usually shortened to H. pylori) is a germ (or bacterium) that can infect your stomach lining. It's much less common in New Zealand than in other parts of the world.

H. pylori can cause indigestion (also called dyspepsia) or it can cause ulcers (sores) in your stomach or small intestine. If ulcers are in your stomach, they're called gastric ulcers. If they're in your small intestine, they're called duodenal ulcers.

Stomach ulcers can cause indigestion, and more severe cases can cause bleeding in your stomach or perforation (a tear) of your stomach.

In a very small number of people, H. pylori can cause stomach cancer.

Diagnosing H. pylori

There are several tests for H. pylori.

Before having any of these tests, it's important that you don't take any antibiotics, or medicines like omeprazole that reduce stomach acid, for a week or two.

Treating H. pylori

Most people who have an H. pylori infection need to take three medicines for one week. The medicines are two antibiotics and a medicine that reduces the amount of acid in your stomach.

After treatment, most people no longer carry the infection, so you won't need further testing unless your symptoms persist or come back.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by GP liaison, Gastroenterology, Canterbury DHB. Page created November 2017. Last updated October 2018.

See also:

Acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion

Sources

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Review key: HIPEP-245983