How to Detect H. Pylori With an Endoscope

Helicobacter pylori is a corkscrew-shaped bacteria that resides in the stomach and intestine of more than half of the world's population; most people have no symptoms. But for those people who do, H. pylori can cause a number of uncomfortable and painful symptoms including bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and vomiting. If that isn't bad enough, the microscopic bug can also cause severe medical conditions such as ulcers and gastric cancer. Treatment typically consists of a combination of medications, and diagnosing the bacteria is pretty straightforward using stool, blood, urea breath tests, or an endoscopic exam.

Steps

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    Make an appointment with your doctor. While there are several testing methods for detecting H. pylori, it can not be diagnosed without testing.
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    Understand why your doctor believes you have an H. pylori infection and why he is recommending endoscopy. In most cases, doctors prescribe an endoscopic exam when they want a clear picture of the stomach and intestine. Since an endoscope is a long, thin tube connected to a camera that is inserted in your throat down to your stomach, doctors get a good idea of what is happening there. With an endoscope, doctors can also remove a small piece of the stomach lining for biopsy. This can not be done with the other H. pylori tests.
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    Discuss any concerns you have. Your doctor will be able to answer your questions and suggest alternatives, if he can.
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    Inform your doctor of allergies, health issues or medications that you are taking.
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    Don't eat or drink before the exam. While many doctors tell patients to refrain from eating and drinking six hours before an exam, do what your doctor instructs you to do.
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    Follow all of your doctor's orders. In addition to fasting, follow your doctor's orders regarding medications, activities, and the like.
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    Discuss with your doctor the need for pain relief and numbing medicine during the course of the exam. Many people feel little discomfort and some sleep during the exam.
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    Lie on your left side during the exam (or otherwise as determined by the examiner), and breathe normally. The endoscope will not interfere with your breathing.
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    Rest as directed after the exam until the medications have worn off. During this time, you will probably be under observation by medical professionals.
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    Take pain medication to alleviate mild discomfort following the exam, if necessary.
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    Gargle with salt water if you have a sore throat, though it will probably pass quickly.

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Categories: Conditions and Treatments