Common GI Conditions

Common GI Condition > GI Tract > Gastritis, Peptic Ulcer Disease and Helicobacter Pylori Infection

Gastritis, Peptic Ulcer Disease and Helicobacter Pylori Infection

Gastritis, and Dyspepsia

Gastritis is technically a histological diagnosis, meaning that it is a diagnosis made on tissue examination of the samples taken from the lining of one’s stomach. When patients refer to symptoms of “gastritis” they actually refer to the symptoms of dyspepsia, which describes the troublesome pain or bloating in the epigastric region, which may or may not be related to meals.

Helicobacter Pylori Infection and the effect on Dyspepsia and Peptic Ulcer Disease

Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that is commonly found in the stomach, affecting up to 40% of the world’s population, being most prevalent in developing countries. H. pylori is likely spread by consuming food or water contaminated with fecal matter containing H. pylori.

Infection with H. pylori results in changes in the protective lining of the stomach, and changes to stomach acid secretion. This results in inflammation of the stomach and/or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). This may result in the symptoms of dyspepsia. In other patients this may result in ulcers in the stomach and/or duodenum.

Stomach and duodenal ulcers typically cause pain and may result in bleeding in the GI tract with symptoms of bleeding from the back passage or even vomiting of blood. Bleeding from the GI tract from stomach or duodenal ulcers can be a life-threatening event. Patients who lose too much blood may have symptoms of giddiness or even pass out, in some patients with risk factors, this may even precipitate a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

H. pylori can be detected by several means. Your doctor may order a stool test, a special breath test, or take a sample during endoscopy of the stomach to detect for an active infection. Some patients have blood tests for H. pylori done as part of health screening. As most of these blood tests detect for antibodies against H. pylori infection, these blood tests may remain positive for years even after a H. pylori infection has been cleared and are not ideal for detecting an active infection

Helicobacter Pylori Infection and Stomach (Gastric) Cancer

H. pylori is a major risk factor for stomach (Gastric) cancer. See our section on Gastric cancer for more information

Treatment of Helicobacter Pylori Infection

Your Doctor may offer to eradicate H. pylori if there is evidence of active infection. This typically comprises a course of antibiotics (usually 2 or more) for 10 to 14 days with an acid suppression medication (proton pump inhibitor) for 28 days. The exact regime may depend on current resistance patterns and other factors such as patient allergies or whether there has been an attempt to eradicate H. pylori in the past.

It is important to complete the course of antibiotics and the entire course of treatment.

After completing the course of treatment, your doctor will usually repeat a test to document eradication of the H. pylori infection, which is typically a stool test of a special breath test.


In summary, H. pylori is a common infection of the lining of the stomach, which may result in symptoms of dyspepsia or the development of gastric and or duodenal ulcers and is also a major risk factor for gastric cancer.

Treatment of H. pylori infection involves a course of antibiotics with proton pump inhibitors if prescribed patient compliance is paramount to a successful attempt at eradication.