Many people infected with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterial infection in the stomach, do not experience symptoms. Our experts at Henry Ford Health recommend those at highest risk for infection be tested and diagnosed to receive a personalized treatment plan.
What causes H. pylori?
H. pylori most often occurs in children. It can be spread through contaminated food or water and direct contact with saliva or vomit. Other risk factors include:
- Living without a reliable supply of water
- Eating food that was not cleaned or cooked safely
H. pylori can affect the lining in your stomach by making the stomach acid less acidic. This can weaken the stomach’s lining. It can cause inflammation, tissue damage in the stomach, sores in the upper digestive tract (ulcers) and is a risk factor for certain types of stomach cancer. Infection with H. pylori may be present in more than half the people in the world.
What are the symptoms of H. pylori?
Not everyone with H. pylori will have symptoms. Some symptoms may include:
- Stomach pain that starts 2 to 3 hours after eating
- Dull stomach pain that does not go away
- Weight loss, vomiting, swelling or bloating
- Loss of appetite
Can H. pylori be prevented?
There are steps you can take to prevent H. pylori infection:
- Wash your hands often with warm soap and water
- Follow safe cooking practices by thoroughly washing and fully cooking all food
- Make sure drinking water is safe and clean