Heartburn, indigestion, gastritis… what’s really going on in your stomach?

symptoms of H. pylori infection

Stomachs growl, gurgle, grumble, and groan. It’s one of the ways that we know something’s going on in there. Figuring out what’s wrong is not always easy because there can be a lot of overlap between the many possible problems. Heartburn, acid reflux (GERD), indigestion (dyspepsia), and stomach inflammation (gastritis) can all share similar symptoms.1,2 Of course, those symptoms can also point to an H. pylori infection.

Even though most people who have an H. pylori infection don’t experience symptoms, visiting your doctor could help determine if there’s something more behind the symptoms that you’re feeling. Treating your symptoms alone could mask an infection and delay more effective treatments.

Masking an H. pylori Infection

Symptoms of an H. pylori infection usually stem from the conditions that the infection can cause rather than the infection itself. Gastritis and dyspepsia can both be caused by H. pylori and without proper treatment these conditions will probably not go away.3 H. pylori can also cause ulcers.

Ulcers aren’t caused by stress or spicy food.

For many years, peptic ulcers were blamed on factors like diet or stress.1 It wasn’t until H. pylori was discovered in 1982 that one of the 2 major causes of ulcers was revealed. The other major cause is NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which are some of the most commonly used pain relievers available. This means that taking medicines like aspirin or ibuprofen and being infected with H. pylori can make your chances of developing an ulcer even greater.1,3

Up to 14 million people are on NSAID therapy in the United States, and up to 60% of them will have stomach problems as a side effect.4 If you take any of the medicines listed below, it’s a good idea to be aware of the possible risks.

Myth Buster:
Spicy food
might not be
the cause of your
peptic ulcers.

Common NSAIDs

  • Aspirin (Bufferin®, Bayer®, and Excedrin®)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex®)
  • Diclofenac (Voltaren®, Cataflam®, Voltaren®-XR)
  • Diflunisal (Dolobid®)
  • Etodolac (Lodine®, Lodine® XL)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil®, Brufen®, Motrin®, Nurofen®, Medipren®, Nuprin®)
  • Indomethacin (Indocin®, Indocin® SR, Indocin® IV)
  • Ketoprofen (Actron®, Orudis®, Oruvail®, Ketoflam®)
  • Ketorolac (Toradol®, Sprix®, Toradol® IV/IM, Toradol® IM)
  • Nabumetone (Relafen®)
  • Naproxen (Aleve®, Anaprox®, Midol® Extended Relief, Naprosyn®, Naprelan®)
  • Oxaporozin (Daypro®, Dayrun®, Duraprox®)
  • Piroxicam (Feldene®)
  • Rofecoxib (Vioxx®, Ceoxx®, Ceeoxx®)
  • Sulindac (Clinoril®)
  • Tolmetin (Tolectin®)

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Symptoms of dyspepsia could be caused by an H. pylori infection.

The consensus among gastroenterologists is that people suffering from dyspepsia (indigestion) should be considered for H. pylori testing because there is some evidence to support the opinion that curing an infection could help ease their symptoms.5

Finding out if you have an H. pylori infection is simple.

If your stomach symptoms are bothering you, ask your doctor about taking a BreathTek® UBT for H. pylori to see if you have an infection. This simple test can help you rule out H. pylori infection as the source of your problems.

References
1
Ables AZ, Simin I, Melton ER. Update on Helicobacter pylori treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(3):351-358. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2007/0201/p351.html. Accessed Oct 10, 2014.
2
Harmon RC, Peura DA. Evaluation and management of dyspepsia. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2010;3:87-98. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002574/pdf/10.1177_1756283X09356590.pdf. Accessed Oct 10, 2014.
3
Chey WD, Wong BCY; Practice Parameters Committee of the American College of Gastroenterology. American College of Gastroenterology guideline on the management of Helicobacter pylori infection. Am J Gastroenterol. 2007;102(8):1808-1825. http://s3.gi.org/physicians/guidelines/ManagementofHpylori.pdf. Accessed Oct 10, 2014.
4
American College of Gastroenterology. Ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding: the essential facts for consumers [Brochure]. Bethesda, MD. American College of Gastroenterology. http://s3.gi.org/patients/pdfs/ulceressential.pdf. Accessed Oct 10, 2014.
5
Meurer LN, Bower DJ. Management of Helicobacter pylori infection. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(7):1327-1337. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0401/p1327.html. Accessed Oct 10, 2014.

Tummy Troubles?

Could your child be suffering from an H. pylori infection?

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Curious About the Test?

Learn how BreathTek UBT is administered in this instructional video.

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Taking BreathTek UBT?

Learn about BreathTek UBT and how to prepare for the test.

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