Our stomachs are a vital aspect of the digestive tract, working hard to mix, break down and pass the food we eat to the small intestine, so it can continue on its journey through our body. However the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach can house certain bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which has a tendency to attack the stomach lining, causing infections and ulcers.
H. pylori is a common bacteria that infects the stomachs of 30 per cent of our global population. H. pylori invades the mucosal stomach lining and can cause inflammation of the stomach (gastritis), which may lead to duodenal and gastric ulcers. Research shows that H. pylori infection contributes to the development of gastric cancer and lymphoma.
Although most people with H. pylori don’t have any symptoms, abdominal pain may occur when the infection leads to stomach ulcers. Other symptoms associated with the infection can include nausea, bloating, excessive burping, fever, heartburn, lack of appetite and unexplained weight loss.
But there is some good news! Helicobacter pylori Breath Testing, a safe 15-minute test, can be used to diagnose the infection, allowing the healing process to begin.
The test monitors the activity of urease, an enzyme produced by the H. pylori bacterium that may be present in the mucosal lining of your stomach. H. pylori converts urea to carbon dioxide and testing for this can be used as part of the initial diagnosis of H. pylori infection, and then to monitor the success of H. Pylori eradication therapy.
H. pylori testing is non-invasive, simple and accurate and performed here at our Moonee Valley Specialist Centre rooms. It involves you swallowing a simple capsule containing urea, a natural and harmless substance. If you are infected with the bacteria, the urea will be metabolised to produce carbon dioxide that can be detected in the breath. You will receive your results straight away.
A combination of antibiotics and other medications may be prescribed to you if your results are positive for the infection. These will work to eradicate the H. pylori bacteria and reduce your pain and ulceration, allowing your stomach to painlessly continue doing what it does best.