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How do I Choose the Best Helicobacter Pylori Treatment?

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  • Written By: H. Lo
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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Your doctor will be able to help you decide the best helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) treatment for your condition. Helicobacter pylori itself is a type of bacteria that infects the stomach and causes inflammation, ulcers and even stomach cancer. Typically, helicobacter pylori treatment involves taking a combination of two antibiotics alongside acid-reducing medications. Taking two different antibiotics improves your chances of eliminating the bacteria, while additionally taking acid-reducing medications suppresses acid production to help the antibiotics work.

In some cases, helicobacter pylori treatment is a process of trial and error. If one combination does not get rid of the bacteria, the next step is to try another combination. The best helicobacter pylori treatment not only depends on your specific condition, but also on your medical history, as sometimes people build up resistance to certain antibiotics. This resistance deters the progress that a prescribed antibiotic might have in killing the bacteria. In addition, the reason behind taking two different antibiotics is in case you do have a resistance to one of them.

Some antibiotics that your doctor might prescribe are amoxicillin, clarithromycin and metronidazole. As for acid-reducing medications, there are two types: histamine (H-2) blockers and proton pump inhibitors. Famotidine, nizatidine and ranitidine are examples of histamine blockers while lansoprazole, omeprazole and pantoprazole are examples of proton pump inhibitors. Usually, helicobacter pylori treatment lasts between 10 and 14 days.

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After this time period, your doctor will need to know if the treatment was successful. He might test you for continued infection with the bacteria through one of two ways: a urea breath test or a stool test. During a breath test, you will need to swallow a capsule that contains urea, a natural chemical that helicobacter pylori breaks down and turns into carbon dioxide. A test of your breath for carbon dioxide will determine if there is a continued presence of the bacteria in your stomach. For the stool test, your doctor will use a helicobacter pylori antibody to test a sample of your stool for the bacteria.

Though a blood test and an endoscopy are initially useful in diagnosing helicobacter pylori infection, they are not ideal or necessary for follow-up treatment. This is why your doctor will perform a blood or stool test. If the test comes back positive for the bacteria, your doctor will then prescribe a different combination of medications to try and relieve the infection. A negative test, though, will indicate that the treatment was a success. After successful treatment, chances of a helicobacter pylori re-infection are low.

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