Ever Heard Of H.Pylori? Here’s What You Need To Know
Helicobacter pylori, more commonly referred to as h. pylori, is an infection that occurs in the stomach. It is most often acquired during childhood and is contracted from poor drinking water, close and crowded living spaces or living in a developing country. Patients usually come to the doctor for symptoms of nausea, pain or burning in the stomach, frequent belching, loss of appetite and weight loss. The diagnosis of h. pylori is made from a biopsy and is treated with antibiotics. Untreated h. pylori may cause a more serious condition called atrophic gastritis, which is chronic inflammation of the stomach lining.
H. pylori is closely linked to gastric cancer. Even people who had h. pylori in the past and were treated with antibiotics successfully have an increased risk for gastric cancer over the rest of the population. If you develop atrophic gastritis, your risk is even greater due to the chronic inflammation. Gastric cancer may have no symptoms in its early stages, but in later stages people may experience feeling full after eating a small amount, nausea, indigestion or vomiting blood. Other risk factors for gastric cancer besides h. pylori include being a smoker, diets high in salt and low in fruits and vegetables, chronic stomach inflammation and a family history of gastric cancer.
If you are experiencing persistent nausea, pain or burning in the stomach that is worse when your stomach is empty, loss of appetite or weight loss, schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you have a history of h.pylori and have symptoms of gastric cancer or just want to know what screening options may be right for you schedule a follow-up. It is important to know your risk factors and not ignore your symptoms. The doctors at Vanguard Gastro are here to help you decipher your symptoms and give you treatment options. Often GI symptoms seem easy to ignore because they may appear fixed with over the counter medications, but be diligent in your own health care, it just may save your life.
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