You can protect yourself from getting an H. pylori infection with the same steps you take to keep other germs at bay:
- Wash your hands after you use the bathroom and before you prepare or eat food. Teach your children to do the same.
- Avoid food or water that’s not clean.
- Don’t eat anything that isn’t cooked thoroughly.
- Avoid food served by people who haven’t washed their hands.
Though stress, spicy foods, alcohol, and smoking don’t cause ulcers, they can keep them from healing quickly or make your pain worse. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage your stress, improve your diet, and, if you smoke, how you can get help to quit.
What can I expect after H. pylori infection?
Most ulcers caused by H. pylori will heal after a few weeks of treatment. If you’ve had one, you should avoid taking NSAIDs for pain, since these drugs can damage your stomach lining. If you need pain medicine, ask your doctor to recommend some.