Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria

Overview

Helicobacter pylori is a type of bacteria that is a major cause of stomach (gastric) and upper small intestine (duodenal) ulcers. Infection with H. pylori may also increase the risk of stomach cancer.

What problems can Helicobacter pylori cause?

Helicobacter pylori can cause ulcers by growing in the lining of the stomach. These bacteria produce inflammation and cause the stomach and the lining of the intestines to be more easily damaged by stomach acid. But most people infected with H. pylori don't get ulcers.

Another factor—one that can't always be identified—may be needed to cause an ulcer to form. These things may include:

How is the infection treated?

You can get rid of Helicobacter pylori bacteria by taking certain antibiotics that are specifically directed at this bacteria.

People who had a peptic ulcer and are infected with H. pylori need treatment to cure the infection. This will lower their risk of getting another peptic ulcer. Treatment with a combination of medicines works very well to cure an H. pylori infection.footnote 1 Sometimes H. pylori bacteria are resistant to certain antibiotics. This can keep the medicine from killing the bacteria.

Some people who take medicine to treat the H. pylori infection may need a follow-up test to make sure that the infection is cured.

References

Citations

  1. Chey WD, et al. (2017). ACG clinical guideline: Treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 112(2): 212–239. DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2016.563. Accessed June 22, 2021.

Credits

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine