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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

H. pylori

tummy painHelicobacter pylori (usually shortened to H. pylori) is a germ (or bacterium) that can infect your stomach lining.

H. pylori infection can damage the protective lining of your stomach and cause inflammation. This increases your chances of developing heartburn and peptic ulcers. In a very small number of people, H. pylori can cause stomach cancer.

In New Zealand the rate of H.pylori infection is lower than in other parts of the world.

Symptoms of H. pylori

Many people with H. pylori have no obvious symptoms. But symptoms you may experience include:

Diagnosing H. pylori

There are several tests for H. pylori:

It's important that you do not take any antibiotics or medicines like omeprazole that reduce stomach acid, for a week or two before having any of these tests.

Treating H. pylori

Most people who have an H. pylori infection need to take three medicines for one to two weeks. The medicines are two antibiotics and a medicine that reduces the amount of acid in your stomach, such as omeprazole, pantoprazole or lansoprazole.

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

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2021.

See also:

Heartburn and acid reflux in adults

Peptic ulcers

Sources

Page reference: 245985

Review key: HIPEP-245983