Helicobacter pylori
(H. pylori)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What is Helicobacter pylori?

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that causes chronic inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach (gastritis) in humans. This bacterium also is considered as a common cause of ulcers worldwide; as many as 90% of people with ulcers have detectable organisms.

H. pylori infection is most likely acquired by ingesting contaminated food and water, and through person to person contact. In the United States, about 30% of the adult population is infected (50% of infected persons are infected by the age of 60), but the prevalence of infection is decreasing because there is increasing awareness about the infection, and treatment is common. About 50% of the world population is estimated to have detectable H. pylori in their gastrointestinal tract (GI tract, but stomach, mainly).

The infection is more common in crowded living conditions with poor sanitation. In countries with poor sanitation, approximately 90% of the adult population can be infected. Infected individuals usually carry the infection indefinitely (for life) unless they are treated with medications to eradicate the bacterium. One out of every six patients with H. pylori infection may develop ulcers of the duodenum or stomach. H. pylori also are associated with stomach cancer and a rare type of lymphocytic tumor of the stomach called MALT (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue) lymphoma. In addition, several recent research papers have shown a link between diabetes, infections, elevated hemoglobin A1C levels, and H. pylori.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/25/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Helicobacter Pylori - Diagnosis Question: How was the diagnosis of your helicobacter pylori established?
Helicobacter Pylori - Treatments Question: What was the treatment for your Helicobacter Pylori?

Symptoms and Causes of Bleeding Ulcers

It started with feeling a little run down after working extra hard, perhaps there was some lightheadedness when he stood too quickly, and then came the fatigue. The baseball world blamed Ichiro Suzuki's malaise on playing too much in the World Baseball Classic. During spring training, baseball players are supposed to lounge and gradually get themselves into shape, not play like it's the World Series in October. But the baseball world was wrong. It was discovered in April 2009 that Ichiro was tired because he was anemic and because he was bleeding from an ulcer.