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Tests for H. pylori

Peptic ulcer disease - H. pylori; PUD - H. pylori

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the bacteria (germ) responsible for most stomach and duodenal ulcers and many cases of stomach inflammation (chronic gastritis).

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How the Test is Performed

There are several methods to test for H. pylori infection.

Breath Test (Carbon Isotope-urea Breath Test, or UBT)

Blood Tests

Stool Test

Biopsy

Why the Test is Performed

Testing is most often done to diagnose H. pylori infection:

Testing may also be done if you need to take long-term ibuprofen or other NSAID medicines. Your health care provider can tell you more.

The test may also be recommended for a condition called dyspepsia (indigestion). This is upper abdominal discomfort. Symptoms include a feeling of fullness or of heat, burning, or pain in the area between the navel and the lower part of the breastbone during or after eating. Testing for H. pylori without endoscopy is most often done only when the discomfort is new, the person is younger than 55, and there are no other symptoms.

Normal Results

Normal results mean there is no sign that you have an H. pylori infection.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results mean that you have an H. pylori infection. Your provider will discuss treatment with you.

References

Cover TL, Blaser MJ. Helicobacter pylori and other gastric Helicobacter species. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 219.

Morgan DR, Crowe SE. Heliobacter pylori infection. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 51.

Siddiqi HA, Salwen MJ, Shaikh MF, Bowne WB. Laboratory diagnosis of gastrointestinal and pancreatic disorders. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 22.

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Review Date: 8/1/2017  

Reviewed By: Subodh K. Lal, MD, Gastroenterologist with Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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