Pediatric Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) Infection

Pediatric Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) Infection

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Summary

H. pylori is a common type of bacteria in the digestive tract that may lead to peptic ulcers or gastritis in some infected individuals.

Expanded overview

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria commonly occur in most people’s digestive tract. In many cases, H. pylori bacteria are harmless. However, in some people, the infection can lead to stomach or small intestine ulcers (called peptic ulcers) or gastritis (swelling of the lining of the stomach).

Most bacteria that invade our bodies are attacked and destroyed by the immune system. H. pylori bacteria, however, live in the stomach lining, where they are protected by mucus and unreachable by immune cells. Due to this, H. pylori bacteria can interfere with a child’s normal immune response and lead to stomach and other digestive problems.

Causes

H. pylori bacteria are spread from the mouth of an infected person to the mouth of another person. This bacterium can also be transferred via the feces of an infected person, such as when a child does not thoroughly wash their hands after using the restroom. It is also possible to contract this bacterium by ingesting contaminated water or food.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of an H. pylori infection may include:

  • Anemia (low blood counts)
  • Blood in the stool
  • Excessive burping
  • Feeling of being bloated
  • Fever
  • Gnawing pain in the stomach that may come and go, or a severe, ongoing pain
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Never being hungry
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Unexplained, sudden weight loss

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