Helicobacter pylori and peptic ulcer

Many peptic ulcers are caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. H. pylori live in the mucous lining of the stomach and may cause inflammation that could lead to an ulcer.

H. pylori is common in the United States, especially in people older than age 65. The infection is not very common in people younger than age 20.

Fewer people are getting infected with H. pylori than in the past. And of the people who are infected with H. pylori, very few will get a peptic ulcer.

Certain factors may make a person who has an H. pylori infection susceptible to developing an ulcer. These factors may include:

People who have had a peptic ulcer and are infected with H. pylori need treatment to cure the infection to lower their risk of developing another peptic ulcer. Treatment with a combination of medicines is highly successful at curing an H. pylori infection.1 Sometimes H. pylori bacteria are resistant to certain antibiotics, which can keep the medicine from killing the bacteria.

Citations

  1. Chey WD, et al. (2007). American College of Gastroenterology guideline of the management of Helicobacter pylori infection. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 102(8): 1808–1825.

Last Updated: January 6, 2010

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