Helicobacter Pylori, or h. pylori, is an infection caused by a bacteria that enters the gut and wreaks havoc on a patient’s GI system. Although some patients never experience any symptoms and therefore never receive treatment, this bacteria can cause a multitude of discomfort, including peptic ulcers, burping, bloating, nausea, and an ache or burning in the stomach. This pesky bacteria is transmitted from person-to-person through direct contact with an infected patient’s saliva or stool, but can also be caused by living conditions. A patient is more at risk for contracting h. pylori if they live in a crowded home, don’t have access to clean drinking water, or is living in a developing country.
Endoscopies are not typically used as the primary mode of diagnosis of h. pylori, but they can be extremely helpful when looking for signs of an infection along with other gut-related conditions. During an endoscopy, the doctor will send a flexible tube with a camera on the end into the mouth and throat of the patient, allowing them to look for signs of infection and take biopsies of the stomach’s lining to lab test for viruses, bacteria, and cancer. If you find yourself experiencing symptoms like those listed above, you may want to reach out to your primary care doctor or gastroenterologist to look into testing for h. pylori, before it causes further discomfort.