Helicobacter pylori: a very common infection in school age

Helicobacter pylori is the bacteria that most often causes inflammation of the stomach and duodenum, as well as ulcers at this level. On our site we tell you how to know if your child is infected and what to do.

1. Is having "an infection" the same as having "a disease due to said infection"?

Fake. They are two different concepts:

- "Infection" is defined as the presence of a potentially problematic microorganism in the human body.

-A disease due to an infection is defined as the presence of symptoms and signs derived from the action of that microorganism. In many cases, Helicobacter pylori causes an infection but not a disease.

2. Is Helicobacter pylori infection common?

Yes. In developed countries, it is estimated to affect 25-30% of school-age children. This figure is higher in developing countries.

3. What diseases can H. pylori infection cause?

Inflammation and ulcer, both in the stomach and in the duodenum.

4. What is gastritis? What is an ulcer?

A gastritis is inflammation of the stomach, and an ulcer is a wound.

5. Is the percentage of children infected with Helicobacter pylori who develop these diseases very high?

No. Infection is very common, but the disease occurs only in a small percentage of patients.

6. What is the route of transmission of this bacterium?

The exact mechanism is unknown. Different routes have been proposed, such as oral-oral, gastric-oral and fecal-oral.

7. How can I tell if my child's belly pain is due to an ulcer?

-It manifests itself in the upper part of the abdomen (under the sternum).

-It is oppressive, as if you were being squeezed with a fist.

-It gets worse with meals.

-It is accompanied by vomiting, weight loss, early satiety (they quickly "feel full"), burning.

8. Is it true that there are children with gastritis whose stomach does not hurt?

Indeed. Gastritis doesn't always hurt. Sometimes we see it in completely asymptomatic children.

9. Are there families with more stomach problems than others?

Indeed. There is probably a predisposing factor that makes certain families more vulnerable to developing Helicobacter pylori disease.

10. How are gastritis and ulcers diagnosed?

Through a test called digestive endoscopy. This test consists of introducing a tube through the mouth at the end of which is a camera. It progresses through the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The tube has a working channel through which samples can be obtained for cultivation and microscopic analysis. Today, endoscopies are done under sedation, with the child asleep.

11. Can gastritis and ulcers have a treatment?

Yes. Treatment consists of taking a combination of drugs for 10-14 days, which includes antisecretors (omeprazole) and at least two antibiotics (amoxicillin, clarithromycin, metronidazole, etc).

12. How can you tell if the Helicobacter pylori infection has gone away?

Through non-invasive tests, such as the breath test or the detection of the bacteria in feces. These tests must be done two months after finishing the treatment.

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