FAQ – for patients
Most people catch it before they are five or six years old. The problem is that the human stomach and its immune system can’t get rid of it by itself. As a result, Helicobacter can colonize the human stomach for decades if not for life.
About the only place it has ever been found is the stomach of humans and some monkeys. It has been with humans for a very long time, and has been found in mummies in the Andes for instance. A whole set of cousin helicobacters colonize the stomachs of other mammals.
Most people only get gastritis, that means an irritated stomach lining, with no pain or other symptoms. A few people who have the infection get stomach or duodenal ulcers. (The duodenum is the part just after the stomach, just before the regular small intestine begins.) A very small minority (less than one percent) of infected people get stomach cancer. Helicobacter pylori was the first bacterium to be officially recognized as a cancer-causing agent.
Probably not, re-infection rates are very, very low. Some people think that they have gotten it again when really they never got completely rid of it in the first place. Since it is hard to get rid of, sometimes the first course of antibiotics doesn’t work.
Here is a useful link for more information
Helicobacter pylori is a spiral shaped bacterium that lives in the stomach and duodenum (section of intestine just below stomach). It has a unique way of adapting in the harsh environment of the stomach.