Helicobacter Pylori test

Other names: H. Pylori Breath Test; H. Pylori Antibody Test; H. Pylori Antigen Test

Helicobacter pylori are a form of bacteria, which cause peptic ulcer disease. The bacterium is also associated with the development of stomach cancer.

When is the test used?

The test is used to detect the presence of helicobacter pylori and is usually ordered for patients who have symptoms of a peptic ulcer or unexplained abdominal pain; possible symptoms include:

  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Trapped wind and belching
  • Bloating
  • Regurgitation

The test may also be carried out once a patient has completed a course of antibiotics to see if the treatment was effective.

How is the test done?

There are many different types of test which may be ordered for patients who are suspected of having peptic ulcer disease or stomach cancer. In many cases, a straightforward test, such as a blood test or a stool sample, will suffice; however, in more complex cases, an endoscopy may be ordered. An endoscopy involves inserting a tube into the body via the throat in order to take a sample (called a biopsy) of the stomach lining.

If a blood test is required, a needle will be inserted into a vein in the arm and the blood will be drawn out and collected in a syringe. Once the sample has been collected, it will be placed in a bottle, labelled with the patient’s name and sent off to the laboratory for testing.

What do the test results mean?

If the test for h pylori is positive, the patient has been infected with the bacteria; if the results of the antibody test or the antigen test are also positive, this also means that the patient has been infected.

If the test results are negative, it is unlikely that the patient has been infected; however, if the patient continues to experience symptoms, a doctor may order an endoscopy.

Gastrointestinal pain can be caused by a variety of different factors and is not always associated with H-pylori.

Specific Blood Tests

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