H. Pylori Infection with Peptic Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is an open sore in the lining of the stomach. It may also form in the lining of the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). Symptoms of a peptic ulcer include stomach pain and upset. Nausea, vomiting, bloating, or bleeding may sometimes occur. In many cases, bacteria called H. pylori are thought to be involved in the development of a peptic ulcer.

Many people have H. pylori in their bodies. Most of the time, it causes no problems. In some people, though, the H. pylori infection causes irritation of the stomach lining. This may make the lining more likely to be damaged by normal stomach acids. H. pylori may also increase the amount of acid in the stomach. It is not clear why this infection leads to problems in some people and not in others.

Tests may be done to check for H. pylori infection. These include a blood test, a breath test, and a stool test. In some cases, a test called endoscopy may be done. During this test, a thin, lighted tube is put into the mouth and down the throat. The healthcare provider can look at the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum through this tube. During this test, a tiny sample of stomach lining (biopsy) may be taken and tested for H. pylori.

Cross section of stomach showing ulcers in stomach and duodenum.

Home care

  • Medicines are used to treat H. pylori infection. Two or more medicines are usually taken together for about 2 weeks.

  • Take all prescribed medicines as directed. Take all of the medicines until they are gone or you are told to stop. This is very important. If you don't finish the medicines, the infection may remain and may be harder to treat.

  • Ask your healthcare provider what side effects the medicines might cause. These can include stomach cramps, diarrhea, or constipation.

  • After the medicine is finished, you may have another test to see if H. pylori infection is still present.

  • Avoid alcohol during treatment.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed. Be sure to return to be retested for H. pylori after treatment.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider for any of the following:

  • Stomach pain that worsens or moves to the right lower part of the abdomen

  • Vomiting

  • Passing a small amount of blood (dark or bright red) in stool or vomit

  • Feeling weak or dizzy

Call 911

Call 911 if any of the following occur:

  • Vomiting a large amount of blood (dark or bright red)

  • Passing a large amount of blood (dark or bright red) in the stool

  • Chest pain appears, worsens, or spreads to the back, neck, shoulder, or arm

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered by Krames Patient Education - A Product of StayWell