A Helicobacter pylori infection rarely causes health problems, but the most common symptoms are burning abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, loss of appetite and frequent burping, according to Mayo Clinic. An empty stomach often makes the abdominal pain more pronounced, and individuals may lose weight unintentionally.
H. pylori bacteria are transmitted through contaminated water, food, eating utensils or infected saliva, explains WebMD. The bacteria can survive in the digestive tract for years and slowly wear away parts of the stomach lining. Stomach acid can leak through weakened areas of the stomach lining and cause ulcers, increasing the risk of internal bleeding, infection or digestive problems. H. pylori is a common bacteria present in roughly two-thirds of the worldwide population, but it is more likely to spread in areas with poor water sources and sewage systems.
Doctors recommend immediate medical attention for symptoms related to bleeding ulcers, such as black, dark red or bloody stool, states WebMD. Severe stomach pain, bloody vomit, trouble breathing, dizziness and pale skin are other symptoms. Individuals may also faint or experience unexplained tiredness. In rare cases, an H. pylori infection is a precursor to stomach cancer. Basic treatment involves targeting the bacteria with antibiotics and using prescription drugs to temporarily reduce acid production in the stomach while the sores heal.