The H. pylori test is prescribed to check the presence of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the person’s system. These bacteria cause infection in the digestive tract and can lead to serious complications, if left untreated or undetected. The infection caused by Helicobacter pylori is a common one. Often people infected do not show any obvious symptoms. The body’s immune system can tackle it, but, in rare cases, fatal symptoms can develop, like leading to stomach cancer. This test is also known as H. pylori stool antigen, rapid urease test (RUT) for H. pylori, urea breath test, and H. pylori breath tests.
The Helicobacter pylori bacterium infection is common and is often seen in young children. The resistance towards this bacterial infection is often developed naturally. If symptoms do develop, it can be due to the formation of peptic ulcers. While the reason behind this resistance or the development of symptoms is not known, treatment for H.pylori is present for people who test positive.
The most common sign of this infection is the development of stomach ulcers and gastritis. This test is usually prescribed when a person shows the following symptoms of having ulcers:
When ulcers bleed into the intestine, it can lead to the development of the following symptoms:
The test is prescribed as a screening test when people are at a risk of contracting the infection. The risk factors include:
The H. pylori test is done to check for the antibodies developed to counter the H. pylori bacteria. When the body is infected, the immune system counters the attack from the antigen with specific antibodies.
Often the H. pylori infection is contracted during childhood. But, as mentioned above, the bacteria rarely has the chance to become an infection within the body. But, once the antigen gets activated, it can lead to serious complications, including stomach cancers.
The Helicobacter Pylori test is done via various means, but blood testing for antibodies is the most effective and assured way to determine if a person is infected or not.
Blood collection is done by experienced phlebotomists and hence the collection process poses no serious side effects or risks. That said, people who are anemic might feel dizzy or nauseous. This can be overcome with rest and by eating healthy iron-rich food.
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Antibiotics are the primary medicines that are prescribed. These antibiotics can be amoxicillin, clarithromycin, tetracycline, or tinidazole. Along with antibiotics, antacids and bismuth subsalicylate are also prescribed. The latter aids the antibiotics in killing the bacteria.
The H. pylori infection is a bacterial infection and relapse is possible when its primary sources are not addressed. Maintaining basic hygiene is a must.
Treatment can last for weeks, depending on the infection stage. The first two weeks are the toughest as the patient has to take up to 14 tablets a day to counter the infection.
The result can either be positive or negative. A negative H. pylori result means that the person is not suffering from the bacterial infection. If symptoms persist, additional tests are prescribed to understand the root cause of the issue.
In case the result comes back as positive, that is a clear indicator that the person is suffering from the H. pylori bacterial infection. A medication plan is created and treatment is started. Since this bacterial infection is curable with antibiotics, the treatment consists of antibiotics and pain relievers.
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