Helicobacter Pylori in New Jersey
The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Angela Merlo, M.D. is an experienced Gastroenterologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of Helicobacter pylori infections for adults as well as children.
What is Helicobacter Pylori?
Helicobacter pylori, also called H. pylori, is a bacterium than infects the stomach. Children as well as adults can be infected. Helicobacter pylori is common particularly in poorly developed countries. H. pylori is probably spread by consuming contaminated food or water. Helicobacter pylori infection often causes no symptoms perhaps because affected individuals are immune or because some strains of the bacterium are less virulent than others. Helicobacter pylori is implicated in a number of serious digestive disorders including:
What are the Symptoms of Helicobacter Pylori Infection?
Symptoms of Helicobacter pylori are similar to those of the digestive disorders they cause. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling full after eating small amount of food
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unintentional weight loss
- Bad breath or bad taste
Diagnosis of Helicobacter Pylori Infection
There are a number of tests available for diagnosing Helicobacter pylori infection. These tests vary in sensitivity.
- Blood test that detects the antibody produced by the body’s immune system against H. pylori. This test indicates exposure to H. pylori but does indicate if the infection is active. This test will remain positive even after the bacterium is eradicated so is not useful for assessing cure after treatment
- Stool test that detects H. pylori. This test does indicate active infection.
- Breath test that detect a gas produced by H. pylori after drinking a chemical solution. This test does indicate active infection.
- Biopsies obtained by upper endoscopy that are specially analyzed. This test is the most sensitive for detecting H. pylori infection.
Who Should be Tested for Helicbacter pylori?
Testing for H. pylori is not recommended if you have no symptoms suggesting possible infection and no history of ulcer disease. Testing is recommended for anyone with:
- Symptoms suggesting possible infection
- Stomach ulcers
- Stomach cancer
- Duodenal ulcers
- Family history of stomach cancer
Dr. Merlo will be happy to address your concerns and help determine the right test for your particular situation.
How is Helicobacter pylori Treated?
No single medication cures Helicobacter pylori infection. The most effective treatments consist of two antibiotics and a medication to suppress acid production to allow the infected areas to heal. Ask Dr. Merlo which regiment is right for you. Dr. Merlo also recommends a follow-up test after treatment to assure cure as there is an increasing concern of antibiotic resistance.
If you have symptoms suggesting Helicobacter pylori infection or if you have had a positive test contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center for an appointment with Dr. Merlo in Lawrenceville or Princeton, New Jersey. Dr. Merlo is an experienced Gastroenterologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection in adults and children.