Risk of Helicobacter pylori infection in the elderly and causes symptoms


Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori, a type of bacteria that colonizes in the stomach, can lead to potential harm if left untreated.

The bacteria have been found to cause peptic ulcers, gastritis, and even stomach cancer.

The H. pylori infection may not always show symptoms, making it vital to get tested, especially if you are at higher risk of contracting the bacteria.

In this blog post, we will explore the causes and symptoms of a Helicobacter pylori infection.

What Causes Helicobacter pylori Infection?

Helicobacter pylori bacteria infection is usually caused by consuming contaminated food or water, which allows the bacteria to enter the digestive tract.

Additionally, H. pylori can spread through close contact with an infected individual, such as kisses or sharing utensils.

The bacteria can enter the stomach and burrow into the protective mucous layer of the stomach, where they can easily survive and thrive.

Symptoms of a Helicobacter pylori Infection

While H. pylori bacteria can be present in an individual’s stomach without any noticeable symptoms, it can lead to severe health complications if left untreated.

The following are some common symptoms of an H. pylori infection:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Dark or tarry stools
  • Unintentional weight loss

Testing for a Helicobacter pylori Infection

Testing for an H. pylori infection is critical for individuals who have risk factors or symptoms of the disease.

Some common diagnostic methods for H. pylori include:

  • Blood Test: A blood test can detect the presence of H. pylori antibodies in the bloodstream.
  • Breath Test: An individual’s breath is tested for signs of H. pylori bacteria.
  • Stool Test: A stool sample is tested for the presence of H. pylori bacteria.

Treatment for a Helicobacter pylori Infection

Treatment for H. pylori infection involves the use of antibiotics and acid suppressors.

Antibiotics kill the bacterial colonies and reduce the chances of the development of complications like ulcers and cancer.

Acid suppressors like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 blockers help to reduce the stomach acid that may trigger symptoms and worsen the infection.

Preventing a Helicobacter pylori Infection

Prevention is always better than cure in the case of H. pylori infection.

Here are some ways to prevent the disease’s spread:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water.
  • Use separate utensils and dishes.
  • Avoid drinking contaminated water. Use boiled or bottled water if you are unsure about the quality.
  • Cook food fully for more than ten minutes.

In conclusion, Helicobacter pylori infection can lead to serious health complications if left untreated.

Early diagnosis by testing and prompt treatment with antibiotics can prevent the development of ulcers and even stomach cancer.

Preventing the spread of H. pylori is easier than treating the disease.

Proper hygiene and safe food and water practices are necessary for prevention.

If you have any symptoms of H. pylori infection or you think you have been exposed to the bacteria, speak to your doctor for testing and treatment.