Helicobacter Infection

and Your Family

What Is Helicobacter?

It is a recently discovered germ (bacteria) which lives in the lining of the stomach where it causes inflammation. It can be passed from one person to another and can be responsible for:-

stomach pains, heartburn and indigestion;

Ulcers, both duodenal and gastric;

stomach cancer (it is a 60% co-contributing factor);

no symptoms at all in some carriers.

How Is It Detected?

The two best tests to detect this infection are an endoscopy and a C14 breath test. An endoscopy test is where, under light sedation a small like tube is passed into the stomach to look at the lining and take samples of tissues to check for the germ. In a C14 breath test, a small amount of radioactive carbon is drunk and two breath samples are taken at 20 minute intervals to detect the bacteria. Each test has its place, an endoscopy is best to check for ulcers and cancer and a breath test is useful for checking relatives and confirm that a Helicobacter infection is eradicated after antibiotic treatment.

What Is The Treatment?

The best current treatment is with a combination of three antibiotics (Triple Therapy). The bacteria is very hard to kill and rapidly becomes resistant to antibiotics if given singly. If you are concerned that you or a member of your family has this infection, please see your doctor for advice.

For an endoscopy examination you will need a referral from your Doctor.

A C14 breath test can be booked directly through the Centre on 9713 4011.


Note: This information is of a general nature only. Please discuss any symptoms with your doctor

*Centre for Digestive Diseases in Sydney, Australia