6 H. Pylori Symptoms to Monitor (with Online Symptoms Quiz)

H. pylori symptoms like bloating, loss of appetite, stomach burning, nausea, burping and excess gas start to emerge and worsen as this bacteria grows. 

The Helicobacter pylori bacteria, also known as H. pylori, can live in the stomach without causing any symptoms. However, unhealthy diet habits can lead to the growth and spread of this bacteria, causing gastritis and ulcers in the stomach and intestines. 

If you notice any signs or symptoms of an H. pylori infection, you should see a gastroenterologist for assessment and treatment as necessary.  

Imagem ilustrativa número 1

Main symptoms

The most common H. Pylori symptoms are: 

  1. Abdominal bloating
  2. Loss of appetite 
  3. Stomach pain or burning
  4. Nausea and vomiting 
  5. Excessive burping or intestinal gas
  6. Dark or bloody stools 

An H. pylori infection can cause constant inflammation to the stomach lining. Over time, this can lead to small gastric ulcers, which are wounds in the stomach that are painful and often bleed. 

If left untreated, H. pylori can lead to chronic stomach inflammation, with increases a patient’s risk for stomach cancer by 8 times. Although H. pylori is not a cancer diagnosis, there is a higher chance for developing cancer if it is not properly treated. 

Symptoms quiz 

Enter your symptoms below if you think you may be at risk for an H. pylori infection: 

  1. 1. Constant stomach pain, burning, or indigestion
  2. 2. Excessive burping or gas
  3. 3. Bloated belly
  4. 4. Loss of appetite
  5. 5. Nausea or vomiting
  6. 6. Very dark or bloody stools

Common causes 

H. pylori infections are relatively common. This bacteria is transmitted through saliva or through contact with food or water that has been in contact with contaminated feces. Some factors that increase your chance of getting an H. Pylori infection include: 

  • Drinking unfiltered or contaminated water
  • Living with someone with an H. Pylori infection
  • Living in a crowded home 

To prevent this infection, it is important to maintain adequate hygiene practices, like washing your hands before eating or after using the toilet. You should avoid sharing cutlery and cups with other people. Important lifestyle habits to consider include smoking cessation, reducing alcohol intake, and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. 

Learn more about what causes H. pylori and its symptoms. 

Confirming a diagnosis 

Mild symptoms, like nausea or indigestion, may prompt the doctor order blood work, a stool test, or a urea breath test. The breath test can detect the presence of H. pylori bacteria without any special prep from the patient. 

More severe symptoms, like vomiting or blood in the stool, may prompt testing like an endoscopy with a biopsy which looks for the presence of ulcers, inflammation or cancer in the stomach. The rapid urease test, done during the endoscopy, can quickly detect H. pylori bacteria and confirm a diagnosis.  

These tests may be repeated after treatment to determine whether the H. pylori bacteria was fully eliminated. 

Treatment options 

Treatment should be guided by a gastroenterologist, and usually involves the use of medications like omeprazole, clarithromycin and amoxicillin. It is also improtant to adhere to an H. pylori diet, which eliminates foods that trigger stomach acid secretion, like coffee, black tea, and soda. Learn more about the H. pylori diet and which foods you should eat when treating an infection.