Hp-infections – basic information for patients
Stomach ache should always be taken seriously.
There can be many different reasons for stomach pain, simple reasons which disappear without treatment but it can also be serious and even life-threatening causes behind the stomach problems.
Stomach ache is a very common condition and the third reason for a doctor’s visit after headache and fatigue. The most important reason for getting an ulcer is the infection of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori.
Helicobacter pylori is the world’s most common infectious disease and it is estimated that 50 % of the world’s population is infected.
In 2005, the two Australian pioneers Barry Marshall and Robin Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine. They managed to show that Helicobacter pylori infection is responsible for the pathogenesis of gastro-duodenal ulcer disease and possibly gastric cancer and non-ulcer dyspepsia.
Earlier it had been widely accepted that gastric ulcers were strongly coupled to personality traits, lifestyle and stress.
Am I infected?
Today the infection with Helicobacter pylori can be easily detected with the help of a painless breath test. The test is also recommended after treatment, to confirm that eradication has been successful.
The test takes around 10 min to perform and can be made by health professionals both in the hospital and at the doctor’s office.
Urea Breath Test
With the help of a so called Urea Breath Test (UBT) you can easily find out if you are infected with the ulcer bacterium Helicobacter pylori.
The test is painless and quick. The patient exhales into base line tubes, swallows a tablet and after 10 minutes exhales into sample tubes. The tubes will thereafter be analyzed by a laboratory. If you are infected the doctor can directly prescribe treatment with antibiotics.
The only test method which is as accurate as UBT is gastroscopy. The patient then has to endure to get a tube down into the stomach via the mouth. This method is often perceived as unpleasant and painful for the patient and is also costly to society.
If the patient is not symptom free after a month a Urea Breath Test is often performed to confirm that the ulcer bacterium is no longer present.