Helicobacter pylori Bacteria

Topic 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.

H. pylori bacteria can cause ulcers by growing in the lining of the stomach, producing inflammation and causing the stomach and intestinal lining to be more easily damaged by stomach acid. But most people infected with H. pylori do not develop ulcers. An additional factor that cannot always be identified may be needed to cause an ulcer to form.

H. pylori bacteria can be eliminated by taking certain antibiotics that are specifically directed at this bacteria.

For some people who have taken medicine to treat the H. pylori infection, a follow-up test may be needed to make sure the infection is cured.

Credits

Author Marianne Flagg
Editor Katy E. Magee, MA
Associate Editor Michele Cronen
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Last Updated February 24, 2010

Last Updated: February 24, 2010

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