H. pylori infection or Helicobacter pylori infection occurs in one’s stomach during their childhood. It is also one of the common causes of peptic ulcers. According to the various medical research reports, around 50 percent of the world population is affected by H. pylori infection. However, most people don’t even realize it because they usually don’t fall ill from this bacterium. When you get signs and symptoms of peptic ulcer, your doctor will test whether you have H. pylori infection or not.
Symptoms of H. pylori infection
You might feel a burning pain in your stomach when you have an ulcer. This pain will stay for a few minutes or even hours. Generally, you will feel the pain of ulcer in the middle of the night or in between your meals whenever your stomach becomes empty. You will feel better when you take an antacid, drink milk, or eat something. Other signs and symptoms of H. pylori infection include the following.
- Not feeling hungry
- Weight loss for unclear reasons
Ulcers can sometimes cause bleeding in your stomach or intestine. This can really be dangerous for your health. In case you find out the below symptoms of H. pylori infection, then you should immediately look for medical help.
- Dark red or black-colored blood in your stool
- Fainting or dizziness
- Trouble in breathing
- Becoming tired for no obvious reasons
- The color of the skin getting pale
- Coffee grounds like vomiting or vomit with blood
- Sharp and severe pain in the stomach
Although it happens in a rare case, you should know that the H. pylori infection could cause cancer in your stomach. One of the first symptoms of H. pylori infection which might cause cancer would be heartburn. After a certain time, you may notice the following symptoms.
- Lack of hungriness
- Even after eating a small portion of the meal, you will feel full
- Losing weight for no apparent reasons
- Vomiting at regular intervals
Causes of H. pylori infection
How H. pylori infection affects a person is yet to be known by scientists and doctors. This bacterium could be passed from one person to another through direct contact with vomit, fecal matter or saliva. Also, H. pylori could be spread through contaminated water and food.
Risk factors of H. pylori infection
H. pylori infection often happens during childhood. The risk factors of H. pylori infection will depend on the living conditions in your childhood such as:
- When you live in a crowded condition: If you live in a home with many people, then you have a good chance of getting affected by this infection.
- There is a lack of clean water supply at your house: Clean and running water helps to reduce H. pylori infection. But, if the area in which you were living in your childhood did not have the supply of clean water, then you could get caught by this infection.
- When you live in an underdeveloped country: If you are a resident of developing or underdeveloped country, then there is a massive chance that you might be having H. pylori infection because of the unsanitary and crowded living condition.
- When you live with someone who has H. pylori infection: If you are living with a person who is already affected with H. pylori infection then there is a huge chance that you might be having the H. pylori infection symptoms as well.
Complications associated with H. pylori infection
- Ulcers: H. pylori infection damages the inner lining of the stomach and small intestine which works as a protective measure. This might result in ulcers. Close to 10% of the people having H. pylori infection will have ulcers.
- Inflammation of stomach lining: H. pylori infection could cause stomach irritation and cause inflammation or gastritis which is also one of the symptoms of H. pylori infection.
- Stomach cancer: One of the fatal complications that can arise from H. pylori infection is the stomach cancer in which you need to take medical help as soon as possible in order to survive.
When should you visit a doctor?
You should be going to your doctor if you notice that the aforementioned symptoms of H. pylori infection is persistent. You need to take medical help if you notice any of the following experiences.
- Persistence and severe abdominal pain
- Facing difficulty in swallowing food
- Blood in your stool that is black in color
- Bloody vomit which is black like coffee grounds
Doctors sometimes test normal people who don’t have any signs of H. pylori infection as a preventive measure. This happens especially in developing and underdeveloped countries. Although whether it is worth it to do so or not is still a controversial discussion among the doctors. Finally, do take evasive actions if you notice the aforementioned symptoms of H. pylori infection.