Most H. pylori infections can still be successfully treated with antibiotics. However, research suggests that some H. pylori infections are becoming resistant to certain antibiotics. This means H. pylori is able to survive antibiotic treatment and the patient may need another drug to kill the bacteria.
A study in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found some patients in the U.S. had H. pylori infections that were resistant to two different antibiotics. The American Journal of Gastroenterology reported a high number of resistant H. pylori bacteria in Latin American countries.
Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem across the globe. The CDC say that more than 23,000 people die each year as a result of an antibiotic-resistant infection. Many people may have heard of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), but there are many other types of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics.
Everyone can do their part to help fight the problem of antibiotic resistance. The CDC say that people should:
- Use antibiotics only when prescribed by a doctor.
- Never use antibiotics for colds or the flu – these are viruses and antibiotics won’t work against these illnesses.
- Take the entire course of antibiotics if they have been prescribed.
- Never share antibiotics with others.
- Never use old or leftover antibiotics.
Fortunately, H. pylori is still treatable with several different antibiotics. Quick treatment will help prevent damage to the stomach and the possible problems of ulcers, gastritis, and stomach cancer.