Risk Factors of Acquiring H. Pylori Infection and Prevention

Infection of H. Pylori (Helicobacter pylori) is very common and approximately half of world population is infected with it. However, all infected persons do not develop symptoms or the disease. The infection most commonly is contacted during childhood itself and certain conditions can increase risk of contacting the infection, they are,

  • Living in a crowded environment. If you have to share your home (especially a small home) with many people, the risk of H. Pylori infection is higher.
  • If you live with a person who has H. Pylori infection, the risk of you contacting the infection is much higher. Your living partner may not even have any symptoms of the disease and may not be even aware of that he/she has the infection.
  • Living in developing country increase risk of H. Pylori infection. Overcrowding and unhygienic conditions increase risk of infection.
  • If you do not have supply of clean drinking water, you are at greater risk of H. Pylori infection. This may be one of the reasons why H. Pylori infection is comparative more common in developing and poor countries.

Prevention of H. Pylori infection:

In the regions/areas where complication due to H. Pylori infection is common, your doctor may ask you to undergo test for H. Pylori infection, even if you are otherwise healthy or if you have some symptoms of the infection. However, there is no clear consensus among doctors regarding the benefits of diagnosis and treatment for H. Pylori infection, if there is no symptoms.

If you are concerned regarding the risk of gastric/stomach cancer due to H. Pylori infection, you should talk to your doctor regarding your concerns and your doctor may be able to clarify your doubts. After clearing your doubts, you can decide for yourself, if treatment of asymptomatic H. Pylori infection is beneficial for you or not. You can weigh risk and benefit of treatment and make an informed decision, as there is no consensus among doctors regarding benefits of treating asymptomatic cases of H. Pylori infection.

 

Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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