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H pylori infection: Are you 1 in 3?

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Roughly a third of people in the United States have an H pylori stomach infection. In most cases, this infection doesn’t become a problem. But if you suffer from indigestion that either won’t quit or keeps coming back, talk to your doctor about H pylori testing. It’s easy and can only help.

 

Should I be tested?

If you have "heartburn" that lasts or keeps coming back, or you are in a higher-risk group, you should consider asking your doctor about H pylori testing.

 
     

How will I know if I have H pylori?

For many people 55 and under, medical guidelines recommend one of two types of tests to learn if you’re infected with H pylori the breath test or the stool test:

Testing Instructions:
H pylori breath test H pylori stool test

Both the breath test and stool test are highly accurate. An advantage of the breath test is that if your doctor suspects H pylori, the test can be taken during the same visit where you told him/her about your symptoms. Both tests may be covered by insurance.

 

 

A third option: the “scope” test

If you are older than 55 or have what doctors call "alarm symptoms" such as stomach bleeding, medical experts recommend testing for H pylori using a procedure called an endoscopy (en-DOSS-ko-pee). This test is performed in the hospital. It is considered very accurate but is only used in certain cases.

 
     


Why is my doctor ordering a second H pylori test after I've finished my antibiotics?

About a quarter of the time, people may still have H pylori infection after treatment. This could be due to the antibiotics not working or because the medications were not taken as prescribed. Retesting is important to confirm that this bacteria no longer lives in your stomach.

 

 

Get ready for testing

Preparing for your test visit. How you can prepare for your visit to a Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Center or make an appointment today. 

 
     

 

If you have any questions about testing for H pylori, be sure to ask your doctor.