FAQ – for patients

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium. It is slightly curved in the form of a helix so it was named Helicobacter. Some of its cousins are longer and you can see the helix better. Click here to see a relative pylori looks like this The bacteria are the long squiggly ones, not the little roundish dots.

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.faq

It doesn’t cause gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, oesophagitis, coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (for example Crohn’s disease), colon cancer or much of anything else in the intestine.
Probably not to other adults. We are not quite sure how it is transmitted but no one has ever been able to show transmission between spouses. Transmission probably occurs within families, most likely from child to child or from mother to child.
Generally, the doctor will prescribe two antibiotics and an additional medicine that neutralizes stomach acid. For details on treatment, click here.
It produces a substance that neutralizes the stomach acid just around itself. This is how it is able to withstand the acidic environment of the stomach in order to survive. Pretty slick trick, huh? Since the bacteria are well protected in the mucous lining of the stomach, they are hard to get rid of. It takes two different antibiotics and since a lot of antibiotics don’t work as well in acid, you have to take another medicine to neutralize the stomach acid. That way the antibiotics can work from the outside (inside the stomach that is) and from the inside, coming back into the stomach lining from the blood stream.

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.

FAQ about the Group

EFHM is Egyptian Foundation for Helicobacter & Microbiota a body that is comprised of experts from several African countries with a mission of developing treatment guidelines for Helicobacter pylori infections in Africa, this is in addition to advance H. pylori research on the continent.
Gastroenterologists, pathologist, general medical practitioners, microbiologist, molecular biologist, medical laboratory scientists etc. who have interest in H. pylori research.
Calls for application to attend EFHM workshops are made on the Group’s web site and submission could be made online via an application link.
EFHM is a non-profit organization that depends on sponsorship from donors, industries and willing organizations.
EFHM is open to any support that can help improve research and health on the African continent.
For any enquires kindly contact info@efhm.org