Table of Contents
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) facts
- What is Helicobacter pylori (stomach bacteria)?
- Does H. pylori cause a stomach infection in humans?
- What are the symptoms of H. pylori infections?
- Is H. pylori contagious?
- How is H. pylori infection diagnosed?
- Why treat H. pylori?
- What is the treatment for H. pylori?
- Who should receive treatment for H. pylori?
- Can H. pylori infections be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for H. pylori infections?
Does H. pylori cause a stomach infection in humans?
Yes, the bacteria may cause a stomach infection in some individuals. H. pylori infections start with a person acquiring the bacterium from another person (via either the fecal-oral or oral-oral route). Although the majority of individuals that have these bacteria in their GI tracts have few if any symptoms (see symptoms), most people develop stomach inflammation (gastritis) from the body's response to the bacterium itself and to a cytotoxin termed Vac-A, a chemical that the bacterium produces. Researchers also suggest that stomach acid stimulates the bacterium to grow and produce the cytotoxin, and increases invasion of the lining of the stomach by the bacteria, inflammation, and ulcer formation. Other investigators have shown that these bacteria and their products are associated with alterations in the cells lining the stomach that when altered are associated with stomach and other cancers, although these are infrequently seen diseases.
The frequency of people infected may somehow be related to race. About 60% of Hispanics and about 54% of African Americans have detectable organisms as compared to about 20% to 29% of Anglo Americans. In developing countries, children are very commonly infected. Continue Reading