H. pylori

H. pylori, or Helicobacter pylori, is a fairly recently discovered bacterium that colonizes the digestive tract of humans, most notably the stomach. It is now regarded to be the cause of much peptic ulcer disease and is thought to be associated with the eventual development of gastric cancer. The germ is suspected to be passed from parents to children. The most accurate but most expensive test for H. pylori infection is the C13-labeled urea breath test. More commonly, a blood test for antibodies to H. pylori is used. Infected individuals with symptoms are treated with various regimens of antibiotics, often clarithrocin (Biaxin® or amoxicillin in combination with metronidazole (Flagyl®) and an acid blocker such as omeprazole (Prilosec®) or ranitidine (Zantac®).

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