What is Heliobacter Pylori?

Heliobacter Pylori  photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Heliobacter Pylori photo courtesy of Wikipedia

This bacteria has lived in the linings of our stomach for all time, however, it was not identified until 1982! In 1982 Dr Barry Marshall and Dr Robin Warren of Australia correctly identified the bacteria and won the Nobel Prize in 2005 for their work. Until this work was done, it was widely believed that bacteria could not live in the lining of our stomachs, as the acid is something like three times that of a cars battery!

Not only can H. Pylori live but to protect itself from the stomach acid it burrows with flagella into the lining to protect itself.  Until this bacterium was cultured it was generally felt that gastritis, stomach ulcers and chronic inflammation of the stomach was caused by spicy foods or stress!

H. Pylori is a gram-negative bacterium that lives in the stomach lining and leads to chronic inflammation, stomach and duodenal ulcers and in rare cases, even stomach cancers. This bacterium is widespread in the world with 50% of the population of the world affected and more prevalent in developing countries.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms

Dr Barry Marshall states on his website “Any symptom between the nipples and the belly button could be due to Heliobacter pylori and that endoscopy”… with biopsy and culture…must always be first choice to specifically diagnose the disease. It is also important that before even the simplest test such as the H pylori breath test, is done that the patient not take over the counter pepcid , zantac, Pepto Bismol, prevacid or prilosec for a week or more before the test. 

Symptoms of concern include, feeling full or bloated after eating, heartburn, vomiting, gnawing type stomach pain, severe hunger or constant nausea. A person infected with this bacterium can also have gas, bloating, diarrhea and feel tired or run down constantly.

Although many over the counter products may lessen these symptoms, they usually are a temporary fix. Reading the package inserts of all the over the counter products state if symptoms persist after two weeks to seek medical advice.


Heliobacter Pylori can last for decades and often persons infected with this bacterium may require more than one course of therapy. Therapy includes proton pump inhibitors such as prevacid or prilosec with antibiotics such as amoxicillin. If the affected person is allergic to penicillin then Flagyl is given instead. Sometimes therapy must be repeated although Dr B. Marshall warns that taking the same therapy more than twice is not recommended due to risk of antibiotic resistance. As stated, this bacterium can last for decades in the lining of your stomach and persons who have no symptoms of H Pylori should not be treated with antibiotics. The worst case scenario for this illness is increased risk of cancer, specifically stomach cancer so regular visits to your physician will always be necessary.

Ways to Help


There are clinical trials underway now for a vaccine against this illness, however once diagnosed; a vaccine would not be effective.

The best way to help persons infected with the bacteria is with good hygiene practices. Heliobacter Pylori is extremely and easily contagious, passing by way of hand to mouth from person to person.

What does that tell us to do?

 Wash your hands frequently and often!

Maintain extremely effective hygienic practices by keeping surfaces disinfected with household bleach in a one to ten solution (one part bleach and ten parts water) and washing hands before and after medications, meals, use of bathroom, touching unclean surfaces, and after coughing or sneezing.


Do you know anyone who has been infected with the Heliobacter Pylori bacteria?

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Comments 22 comments

Kavita Trivedi profile image

Kavita Trivedi 6 years ago from London

My Dad was diagnosed with this a couple of months ago after having an Endoscopy. We had never heard of it until i googled it on the internet

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

I hope he gets better soon! love to you and thank you for the comment barbara b

bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Thanks for this excellently written information on H Pylori. I was diagnosed in 2007 , and took two rounds of antibiotics 1000mg(I think) a day for 20 days. I was not told to return for follow up, which apparently from your information, I should have done. I am pretty much symptom free.I'm wondering if this is a permanent condition. I guess I need to google that.

I like your writing style. I am popping right up to the top of this hub to follow you.Thumbs WAY up!

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

you are so welcome bayoulady! I read that sometimes the bacterium becomes colonized so there would not be any symptoms and as I dug deeper it said if you are symptom free they do not treat the condition...I am so glad you only had to be treated once!

thank you so much for you praise on my writing style you made my day!!love to you!!bb

Brenda 6 years ago

I have h pylori for the second time in 5 years. My doctor said I should get a breath test analysis 3 weeks after I finish my medicine, I never did this the first time I was diagnosed.

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

Well at least this time you got a good physician!! yippee cause this thing is a bugger/// my heart and love to you and get well soon...you know also to eat your yogurt...not with your antibiotic but sometime during the day...that antibiotic is harsh as well and you do not need thrush of the mouth or a yeast infection anywhere..catch my drift? much love to you Brenda...barbara b

brian briers 6 years ago


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

I am so sorry you are having to endure this brian and my prayers are with you/love to you barbara b

Christine 6 years ago

i have had this last year very bad i was told i was ok thru a stool sample a few months when i was done now ihave been bloaty gasey nausated and feeling like crap so i went today and was scheduled for another biopsy endoscopy i am so discusted with worrying about this turning in to stomach cancer and i am almost positive i have it again in just 1 year i don't know who has ever had this i am being told bad food or water i had a real bad case of food poisoning once real bad from mcdonalds please tell me if im going to be ok cause i have three weeks of straight worrying how does it finally go away and what are the chances of stomach cancer/

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

the Mayo Clinic site said you can contract it as a child! that sometimes it comes from bad water or living in a crowded situation or from living with someone who has the h pylori but doesn't have any symptoms!

and OK I know this may sound weird but there is this honey from New Zealand, we use a type of it called medihoney to heal wounds...it is statisitcally shown to kill even MRSA and it heals GERD and even this bacteria, the heliobacter pylori...its called Manuka Honey...can be found in health food stores or on the internet...but of course ask your physician first but I have seen great things done with the use of the medihoney for wounds and I started it for my GERD...tastes good!Wedderspoon sells it and it is rated at a 20, manuka honey comes in all grades...over 10 is considered very good...

I hesitate to recommend it/I am a nurse after all but I know how worried you are/it wouldn't hurt to ask your physician...

For sure, it takes sometimes more than one round of antibiotics to clear it up. You did GOOD Christine! You went to the physician and you got the test scheduled and that will tell your doctor exactly how to treat you! It isn't anything you've done and the WORST case scenario is stomach cancer ONLY if left untreated Now you are getting treated and you are in GOOD hands!!

If your physician was really really concerned your biopsy would not be in three weeks it would have been done the day after you went to the physician!

It takes time and it sometimes takes more than one round of antibiotics and sometimes it doesn't go away but just does not cause any symptoms...it is going to be hard to wait for the results I know and I will not say you are going to be ok but I BET you are going to be just fine!!! and I love you and I will put you in my prayers if that is OK with you Christine or ask the angels to watch over you...and everyone here on HubPages will too I guarantee that!! this is a great group of people here!! please write and let me know how you are or if there is anything else I can find out for you...but most of all stay as positive as possible and try not to stress...much love to you

barbara b

Diane Inside profile image

Diane Inside 5 years ago

I have H pylori right now, I opted not the use antibiotics right now and am instead just managing it with diet. I have found that if I eliminate gluten, soy,dairy, and sugar from my diet, it helps tremendously. Corn and rice are grains that do not have gluten so I substitute them for breads or flour foods. Eliminate sugar has been the hardest thing to do. I do have a sweet tooth I'm afraid. But I try. I rarely have symptoms when I stick to my diet. I also cut down on carbonated drinks, I don't know why but they seem to bother it as well. Drinking a lot of tea is my alternative. Pepto bismol is the one thing I do take if I do have a flair up but since my diet change that has become much less I only notice needing it if I stray from my diet. I hope this helps someone else. Nice hub Thanks.

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

well that is some wonderfully informative advice DIane Inside and I appreciate it

I hope it continues to work for you/h pylori is not easy to get rid of and if theres one thing worse than a chronic infection like h pylori then that's a long term use of antibiotics!

I know Im a nurse and shouldn't say that but I say try whatever works for you!! and get lots of opinions!!!

way to go!!

you rock!!

love to you

barbara b

nick 5 years ago

Some years ago I had all the symptoms of a duodenal ulcer ulcer:pain at base of the sternum, especially when stressed (driving etc). I went to my GP and she arranged a Barium Meal X-Ray(but in 6 weeks!).What could I do in the meantime? Yoghurt was always soothing, so I ate it by the bucket load (half to one liter a day).The symptoms gradually decreased, so by the date of the X-Ray they had disappeared.Did I kill some bacterium that was causing problems - who knows? Ten years on, and no recurrence. Any use to you guys out there?

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

way to go Nick!! how bout you write the Grant Proposal and you and I will do the research and see what happens?

operative words here?

"you write the grant proposal"

oooohhhh I am sooooo mean!!

I am just sohglad it worked!!!

way to go Nick!!

You rock Dude!

afn 5 years ago

i have a 17 year old that has gone through 2 rounds of antibiotics..she has an ulcer (fairly large), and is scheduled for another endoscopy...really unsure as to what i should expect next??

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

The GI physician may want to see the status of the ulcer/is it bleeding for example..unless they plan another biopsy to see how effective the antibiotics are? Im not sure either but that's the questions I would ask...what's next, are yu looking at the ulcer and what will you do about it and does my child need another biopsy?


I really like Mayo for answering my questions! I hope everything for your 17 yr old gets well soon!!

afn 5 years ago

starting new round of antibiotics,..am adding menuka honey..could only find +10..trying to figure out how much to give, though...ulcer is ralatively calm using losec, so gi wants to wait until after this round and new breath test go scope her

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

Good Morning afn I was hoping the 17 yr old was all better! I am glad the prilosec is helping and another breath test is good...it will show if the h. pylori is still there (I hope not)

as to the honey I used it for almost a year...its delicious :) but cant say if it helped the GERD or not...I got the +15 online but it was dear

as to how much I just ate a huge tblp every morning...its honey and its taken by mouth/you cant take too much so that's a good thing! and it will help line the stomach with good stuff so the antibiotics don't give the 17 yr old a stomach ache!

afn 5 years ago

starting 4th round..so frustrating!!

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

oh gracious your poor 17 year old!!

afn 4 years ago

helio and ulcer finally gone!!

RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 4 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

oh thank goodness afn!!! :) I know your teenager is so glad to be over that!

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