H. pylori stands for Helicobacter pylori, and it’s a spiral-shaped bacteria that grows in the digestive tract and can live in the lining of your stomach. For most people, they become infected during childhood and will live their life with minimal to no symptoms. But for others, an H. pylori infection can cause serious issues, such as stomach ulcers and more.
For how common this bacterial infection is, many people have never even heard of it. In this easy to understand article, we’ll talk all about H. pylori, including how you can get infected, what an infection can mean for you, and so much more. So take a seat and let’s get started.
All About H. Pylori
H. pylori was discovered in 1982 and infects approximately two-thirds of the world’s population says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s more common in African Americans, Hispanics, older adults, and people of lower socioeconomic status, writes the source. According to the CDC, the infection can cause gastritis, stomach ulcers, and gastric cancer. The source continues to report that, “infected persons have a 2- to 6-fold increased risk of developing gastric cancer and mucosa-associated lymphoid type (MALT) lymphoma compared with their uninfected counterparts.”
The bacteria are able to not only survive, but also thrive in the unwelcoming stomach environment. “[They] change the environment around them and reduce its acidity so they can survive,” says Healthline. Their spiral shape makes it easy for them to push through the stomach lining, where they are protected by the mucus from the body’s immune system cells.