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How Can I Treat a Bacterial Infection of the Stomach?

A diagram of the stomach and duodenum.
Bacterial infection of the stomach can lead to pain and discomfort.
Yogurt can help ease an upset stomach.
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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 18 April 2014
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Successfully treating a bacterial infection of the stomach can involve several common treatments regardless of the type of bacteria. Killing the bacteria is key, but the stomach is an organ with a delicate balance. Therefore, it can also be beneficial to temporarily take medication that will reduce stomach acid while the stomach heals and that balance is restored.

Gastroenteritis is a common bacterial infection of the stomach that occurs when an individual eats bad food or drinks contaminated water. One of the most important ways to treat this condition is to eat ice and drink liquids such as fruit juice in order to replace vital nutrients and fluids lost during the bouts of diarrhea that go along with the infection. Bland foods such as toast and potatoes will also help settle the stomach. If a medical professional can determine exactly what kind of bacteria are causing the gastrointestinal distress, antibiotics may be prescribed. In most instances, however, fluids and a plain diet are enough to get the individual through the illness as it runs its course.

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Some types of ulcers are also caused by a bacterial infection of the stomach. Peptic ulcers can be a painful condition in which bacteria begin to eat through the lining of the stomach. Antibiotics are often prescribed to kill the bacteria, and other types of medication can also be used to manage the symptoms and give the stomach a chance to heal. Those that contain bismuth can be used to create a protective coating, giving extra protection against stomach acid. Medications similar to those that prevent heartburn and acid reflux can also be taken, and these will help reduce the amount of stomach acid produced.

Certain types of medications can wear away the protective coating in the lining, making it more vulnerable to damage caused by bacterial infections of the stomach. It is generally advised to avoid aspirin while recovering from such infections. Alcohol and exposure to cigarette smoke can also prolong the illness and make overcoming the infection more difficult.

On the other hand, some foods can have a soothing effect for an individual with a bacterial infection of the stomach. Yogurt, especially types reinforced with probiotics, can help soothe an angry stomach. Some vitamins can also help the body fight off a bacterial infection of the stomach by boosting the immune system; increasing the amount of vitamin A in the diet or taking supplements can help the immune system attack bacterial invaders.

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Discuss this Article

Sinbad
Post 5

I don't think I have ever had a bacterial infection of the stomach before, but I have had my fair share of stomach aches and heart burn. These can be quite painful, so I am sure bacterial infections of the stomach are even worse.

Products with bismuth in them seem to help my stomach aches almost instantly. I like the way I can feel the liquid form of Pepto-Bismol coating my stomache almost immediately after I take a few swigs. Lately I have been taking the Pepto-Bismol chewable tablets. They don't seem to have the same instant coating of the stomach effect, but they work pretty fast and well.

I also sometimes eat bland foods when my stomach has been upset, and then seems to help somewhat.

What seemed to eliminate most of my heartburn has to eliminate most fried/greasy foods from my diet. It really does pay in a lot of ways to eat healthy on a regular basis.

Probiotic yogurt has helped me recover from a urinary tract infection before, so I can see how this could help a stomach infection as well.

geekish
Post 4

@anamur - Wow, thank goodness you went to the hospital that night! I have thankfully not ever had food poisoning, but I have known quite a few people who have.

The knowledge that most people have had food poisoning at least once in their life, discourages me from going out to eat at any small/local diners/dives/fast-food restaurants, as these are the most common places I have heard of people getting food poisoning at.

I do go out to eat occasionally though, and I feel so blessed to have not gotten food poisoning.

One time I did go to a local fast food restaurant, and I just happened to noticed my chicken sandwich was not cooked all the way, as in some of the meat was still raw! I am glad I noticed that, because I may not be here writing this now if it wasn't for me checking my sandwich before I ate it.

ysmina
Post 3

@burcidi-- I know about helicobater pylori, it's a very strong bacteria. It has a special enzyme that protects the bacteria from stomach acid, so that it is not harmed from it. If it's not treated, these guys can stay with you for a very long time, for years and years!

The scariest part about this kind of bacterial infection is that it could lead to ulcers and even tumors, so treatment is a must.

I've actually seen reports that say that a huge percent of the population carries this bacteria, but not everyone gets sick from it. So not all people are treated with antibiotics. Many people treat it with acid reducing medications like the proton pump inhibitor you mentioned.

If the symptoms of the bacterial infection become serious, causing nausea and vomiting, doctors will prescribe the 'triple therapy.' That's the three medication kit you talked about. But for some people, keeping the stomach acid under control with acid reducing medications and acid reflux disease therapy may be enough.

serenesurface
Post 2

@burcidi-- I also had to take antibiotics when I had food poisoning. I got sick from a sandwich at a roadside food stall and started vomiting and feeling dizzy that night.

My roommate rushed me to the ER where a blood test showed a bacterial infection in the stomach. I was given a saline IV with antibiotics in it. Half way through the IV, I stopped vomiting and felt so much better by the end of it.

I don't know about other types of stomach infections, but I probably would have been dehydrated and seriously ill had I not been given an IV and antibiotics that night.

burcidi
Post 1

When I was diagnosed with a bacterial stomach infection from a bacteria called helicobacter pylori, my doctor prescribed a kit of medications for treatment. I think stomach infection from this bacteria is widespread because the World Health Organization had these special kits made specifically to treat it.

The kit had three different medications in it. One was a strong dose of antibiotics, the other was a proton pump inhibitor to control acid and the third was protective medication for the stomach. I used the entire kit, the medications lasted for about three weeks. When I finished them, all of my symptoms from the infection were gone- the nausea, acidity and stomach cramps.

I could not believe how much antibiotics it took to kill those bad little bugs! Before this treatment, I had tried a bland food diet but it didn't help. I think that an antibiotic treatment is the best way to get rid of a bacterial infection.

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