The H.Pylori bacteria can be passed from person to person via direct contact with stools, vomit, and saliva4. It can also be passed via infected water and food and via the oral-faecal route4. Most of the time, people are infected as children. Adults are not immune and can also be infected quite easily as the H.Pylori bacteria is able to live undetected for many years in the infected person’s stomach.
Most people who are infected with H.Pylori will be asymptomatic and if symptoms do appear, they only appear years after an infection. Approximately 5-10% of infected individuals go on to develop the following symptoms2:
In some rare cases, H.Pylori infection may cause a number of changes in the stomach lining which can then ultimately result in stomach cancer (also known as gastric cancer).
Yes, it can be especially if it causes Gastritis (Gastric Inflammation or Ulceration).
Most people get infected by the H.Pylori bacteria in childhood.
Living with someone who has a H.Pylori infection: if someone in your household has a H.Pylori infection, it can be easily transmitted to you since it can be passed via contaminated food and drinks.
Living in over-crowded conditions: having more people living in the same home as you can increase your risk of getting infected.
Living with no access to clean water: H.Pylori bacteria often live in contaminated food and water, having access to clean water will reduce your risk of an infection.
Living in a developing country: studies have shown that living in a developing country will put you at a higher risk of getting a H.Pylori infection.
Testing for a H.Pylori infection can be conducted before and after treatment (to check if the bacteria has been completely irradicated). H.Pylori infection can be diagnosed using the following tests2:
The treatment options for a H.Pylori infection depend on the severity of your symptoms and if it has progressed to anything more serious like gastritis, duodenitis, peptic ulcer disease, and stomach/gastric cancer.
Treatment options are2,6:
Antibiotics, PPIs, and bismuth subsalicylate are usually prescribed together, and treatment will last approximately 14 days. After the treatment ends, you will have to go through another round of testing to check if the H.Pylori bacteria has been cleared from your body. If treatment worked, you may continue with your life while maintaining good hygiene habits. If treatment did not work, you will have to undergo another round of treatment.