lori is a bacterium that colonizes in the lining of the stomach. H. pylori is particularly prevalent in China. It is often picked up in childhood and survives in the aci
dic environment of the stomach for many years. It will often cause no symptoms although it may cause dyspepsia and indigestion. Long-term infect
ion with H. pylori will cause the stomach to become inflamed (gastritis) and can cause abnormal changes in the cells that line the stomach which over time
may become cancerous. It is estimated that over 90 percent of all stomach cancers are attributable to H. py
lori infection. Chronic H. pylori infection can also cause peptic ulcers and gastric lymphoma.
Studies show that successfully treating H. pylori infection with antibiotics lowers th
e risk of developing stomach cancer. Ideally the infection should be treated in early a
dulthood (20s and 30s) before changes in the cells lining the stomach have started to occur. H. pylori can be resist
ant to a number of antibiotics so most courses of treatment involve taking four different medications for a two-week cours
e. Even the best courses of combination therapy have only a 90 percent success rate at eradicating the infec
tion. So it is a good advice to have a repeat test for H. pylori a month or so after completing a course of treatment.
H. pylori infection can be detected either by a special breath test, a stool test or at gastroscopy.