What is an H. pylori infection?
1-pyloriis a common type of bacteria that grows in the digestive tractand has a tendency to attack the stomach lining. It infects the stomachs of roughly 60 percentTrusted Source of the world’s adult population. H. pylori infections are usually harmless, but they’re responsible for the majority of ulcers in the stomach and small intestine.
The “H” in the name is short for Helicobacter. “Helico” means spiral, which indicates that the bacteria are spiral shaped.
2-pylorioften infect your stomach during childhood. While infections with this strain of bacteria typically don’t cause symptoms, they can lead to diseases in some people, including peptic ulcers, and an inflammatory condition inside your stomach known as gastritis.
3-pyloriare adapted to live in the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach. These bacteria can change the environment around them and reduce its acidity so they can survive. The spiral shape of H. pyloriallows them to penetrate your stomach lining, where they’re protected by mucus and your body’s immune cells are not able to reach them. The bacteria can interfere with your immune response and ensure that they’re not destroyed. This can lead to stomach problems.
What causes H. pylori infections?
It’s still not known exactly how H. pylori infections spread. The bacteria have coexisted with humans for many thousands of years. The infections are thought to spread from one person’s mouth to another. They may also be transferred from feces to the mouth. This can happen when a person does not wash their hands thoroughly after using the bathroom. H. pylori can also spread through contact with contaminated water or food.
The bacteria are believed to cause stomach problems when they penetrate the stomach’s mucous lining and generate substances that neutralize stomach acids. This makes the stomach cells more vulnerable to the harsh acids. Stomach acid and H. pylori together irritate the stomach lining and may cause ulcers in your stomach or duodenum, which is the first part of your small intestine.