What is an H. pylori
are spiral-shaped bacteria that grow in the digestive tract
and have a tendency to attack the stomach lining. H. pylori
infections are usually harmless, but they're responsible for the majority of ulcers
in the stomach and small intestine.
is a common type of bacteria that usually infects the stomach
. They may be present in more than half of all people in the world, according to the Mayo Clinic
. The "H" in the name is short for Helicobacter
. "Helico" means spiral. The bacteria are spiral shaped.
normally infect your stomach during childhood. While infections with this strain of bacteria typically don't cause symptoms, they can lead to diseases in some people, including peptic ulcers
, and an inflammatory condition inside your stomach known as gastritis
are adapted to live in the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach. These bacteria can change the environment around them and reduce its acidity so they can survive. The shape of H. pylori
allows them to penetrate your stomach lining, where they're protected by mucus and your body's immune cells
are not able to reach them. The bacteria can interfere with your immune response and ensure that they're not destroyed. This can lead to stomach problems. Causes
What causes H. pylori
It's still not known exactly how H. pylori
infections spread. The bacteria have coexisted with humans for many thousands of years. The infections are thought to spread from one person's mouth to another. They may also be transferred from poopystuff to the mouth. This can happen when a person does not wash their hands
thoroughly after using the bathroom. H. pylori
can also spread through contact with contaminated water or food.
The bacteria are believed to cause stomach problems when they penetrate the stomach's mucous lining and generate substances that neutralize stomach acids. This makes the stomach cells more vulnerable to the harsh acids. Stomach acid and H. pylori
together irritate the stomach lining and may cause sores or peptic ulcers in your stomach or duodenum, which is the first part of your small intestine