H. pylori is a spiral-shaped bacterium found in the stomach, which (along with acid secretion) damages stomach and duodenal tissue, causing inflammation and peptic ulcers. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, H. pylori causes the majority of ulcers.
It is believed that H. pylori's shape and characteristics cause the damage that leads to ulcers.
Because of their shape and the way they move, the bacteria can penetrate the stomach's protective mucous lining where they produce the enzyme urease, which generates substances that neutralize the stomach's acids. This weakens the stomach's protective mucus, makes the stomach cells more susceptible to the damaging effects of acid and pepsin, and leads to sores or ulcers in the stomach or duodenum (first part of the small intestine).
The bacteria can also attach to stomach cells, further weakening the stomach's defensive mechanisms and producing local inflammation. For reasons not completely understood, H. pylori can also stimulate the stomach to produce more acid.
Researchers do not know what causes people to develop H. pylori. It is believed that H. pylori is transmitted orally from person to person through close contact (kissing) or through fecal-oral contact. Most people are first exposed to it during childhood.
The following are the most common symptoms of H. pylori. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
After being infected with H. pylori, gastritis--an inflammation of the stomach lining--may develop. However, most people will never have symptoms or problems related to the infection. When symptoms are present, they may include the following:
The symptoms of H. pylori may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for H. pylori may include:
Specific treatment will be determined by your child's doctor based on the following:
Treatment may include:
Click here to view the
Online Resources of Digestive & Liver Disorders