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Helicobacter pylori: a bacteria that affects the stomach

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Helicobacter pylori, also known as H. pylori, is a bacteria that infects the lining of the stomach and is a leading cause of gastrointestinal illness. This bacteria has the ability to survive in the acidic environment of the stomach thanks to the production of an enzyme called urease, which neutralizes gastric acid. In this article, we will explore the symptoms of H. pylori infection and the possible associated complications.

Common symptoms

H. pylori infection can manifest itself through various gastrointestinal symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:

Abdominal pain

One of the most common symptoms of H. pylori infection is abdominal pain. This pain is often described as a burning sensation or dull ache in the epigastrium region, just below the ribs. The pain may be worse when the stomach is empty and better after eating or taking antacids.

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are also common symptoms in people infected with H. pylori. These symptoms can vary in intensity and frequency, and in some cases, vomiting may contain blood, indicating a more serious complication such as a bleeding ulcer.

Loss of appetite and weight loss

H. pylori infection can cause a decreased appetite, which can lead to unintentional weight loss. This loss of appetite is usually associated with gastric discomfort and persistent nausea.

Abdominal distension and feeling of fullness

Many infected people experience a feeling of abdominal bloating and fullness, even after consuming small amounts of food. This symptom can be particularly uncomfortable and affect daily activities.

Less common symptoms

In addition to the common symptoms mentioned above, H. pylori infection may also manifest through less common symptoms, such as:

Belching and gas

Excessive gas production and belching may be indicative of an H. pylori infection. Although these symptoms may seem minor, they can be persistent and bothersome.

Gastroesophageal reflux

Some patients may experience acid reflux, where stomach contents rise into the esophagus, causing heartburn and acid regurgitation. This can lead to esophagitis if not treated properly.


If left untreated, H. pylori infection can lead to serious complications, such as:

Peptic ulcers

Ulcers in the stomach or upper small intestine are common in chronic H. pylori infections. These ulcers can cause severe pain, bleeding, and perforation of the stomach.

Chronic gastritis

Chronic inflammation of the stomach lining can lead to gastric atrophy and intestinal metaplasia, increasing the risk of gastric cancer.

Linfoma MALT

In rare cases, H. pylori infection is associated with the development of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma (MALT), a type of lymphatic cancer.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis of H. pylori infection is done using tests such as serology, urea breath test, endoscopy with biopsy, and stool antigen detection. Treatment usually involves a combination of antibiotics and proton pump inhibitor drugs to eradicate the bacteria and reduce stomach acidity.


H. pylori infection is a common condition that can cause a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, from abdominal discomfort to serious complications such as ulcers and gastric cancer. Early detection and appropriate treatment are essential to prevent these complications and improve the patient’s quality of life.

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