Scientific research has recently shown that the number of individuals infected with, or suffering from the effects of, the H pylori bacteria, currently numbers in the millions. In the United States alone, something like half of all individuals, particularly women over the age of 40, may one day suffer with a severe case of H Pylori infection.
The precise cause of H Pylori infection has not yet been scientifically determined but, like malaria, a major source of H Pylori bacteria is believed to bad water and personal contact with individuals who have already been infected with the bacteria (such as through kissing, for example).
The most common side effect currently associated with the H Pylori bacteria is stomach ulcers or, more rarely, stomach cancer. There are many other additional side effects associated with an acute infection of the H Pylori bacteria, such as loss of appetite (sometimes leading to an unexplained weight loss), nausea and resultant weakness, and strangely altered vomit and stool (both of which take on a brackish, tarry, texture and hue).
If you or an individual close to you possess or begin to exhibit any or all of the above mentioned symptoms, you should consult your physician immediately. The longer you linger over an undiagnosed case of H Pylori bacteria, the more acute and dangerous the resultant side effects are bound to become.
In some cases where H Pylori has been diagnosed too late due to the patient waiting until the last possible moment to go to a doctor or hospital, death from severe ulceration (internal bleeding or hemorrhaging) or stomach cancer has resulted.
Testing for the presence of H Pylori infection is relatively easy, and inexpensive. Most tests for H Pylori involve the patient breathing into a specially prepared, balloon like, bag, which the doctor will then compare against an additional breath sample taken some 15 or 20 minutes later. Between breath bag collections, your physician will direct you to drink a cup filled with a pleasant tasting, lemon juice like substance. After he has taken the second breath sample, he will send it to a laboratory for a comparison of the carbon dioxide content in your breath, before and after you drank the lemon like substance.
After laboratory testing of your breath samples is complete, and if the results are positive, your doctor will then make a diagnosis of H Pylori infection. He or she will normally prescribe a special course of antibiotic medications, which are collectively known as proton pump inhibitors. These special antibiotics will cleanse your system of all the excess stomach acid it has been producing in its futile effort to “burn out” the bacterial invaders. This prescription of proton pump inhibitors will normally heal your stomach ulcers, and prevent new ones from forming.
After your ulcers have healed up, your doctor will then prescribe a course of further antibiotics to deal directly with the H Pylori bacteria itself, and hopefully eradicate it from your system. Most H Pylori bacteria treatments result in complete success. As long as the infection is treated in time, you should have no reason to worry. There is, in fact, a 90% success ratio for this procedure.