Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria. These germs can enter your body and live in your digestive tract. After many years, they can cause sores, called ulcers, in the lining of your stomach or the upper part of your small intestine. For some people, an infection can lead to stomach cancer. Infection with H. pylori is common. About two-thirds of the world’s population has it in their bodies. For most people, it doesn’t cause ulcers or any other symptoms. If you do have problems, there are medicines that can kill the germs and help sores heal. As more of the world gets access to clean water and sanitation, fewer people than before are getting the bacteria. With good health habits, you can protect yourself and your children from H. pylori.
Most people with H. pylori don’t have any symptoms. When the infection leads to an ulcer, symptoms may include abdominal pain, especially when your stomach is empty at night or a few hours after meals. The pain is usually described as a gnawing pain, and it may come and go. Eating or taking antacid drugs may relieve this pain. If you have this type of pain or a strong pain that doesn’t seem to go away, you should visit your doctor. A number of other symptoms may be associated with H. pylori infection, including: excessive burping feeling bloated nausea or vomiting lack of appetite, or anorexia unexplained weight loss foul breath However, these are common symptoms that could be caused by other conditions. Some of the symptoms of H. pylori infection are also experienced by healthy people. These symptoms are common, but if any of them persist or you’re concerned about them, it’s always best to see your doctor. If you notice blood or a black color in your feces or vomit, you should consult your doctor.
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