Bacteria That Causes Stomach Ulcers
by Anna Dyer
Stomach ulcers, or peptic ulcers, are sores found in the tissues lining the stomach. Stomach ulcers affect as many as one in 10 people during their lifetime. While stomach ulcers can be caused by over-use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen, the most common cause is the presence of bacteria in the stomach. Not all people infected with the bacteria suffer from ulcers; however, the factors leading to ulcer formation remain unknown.
The bacteria that causes the majority of stomach ulcers has been identified as Helicobacter pylor (H. pylori).
According to the National Institute of Health, the bacteria effects 20 percent of people under 40 and almost half of people over 60 in the United States.
An H. pylori infection is most commonly spread through the ingestion of infected food or water; however, the bacteria can also be found in the saliva of people infected with the bacteria, and therefore is also thought to spread through kissing.
When an ulcer is present, a doctor will conduct an exam using an endosope during which a small sample of stomach tissue is taken and tested for the presence of H. pylori bacteria.
Once the presence of H. pylori bacteria is confirmed, antibiotic treatment can eliminate the bacteria from the body. In addition to antibiotics, many doctors prescribe acid-reducers as well as other drugs to reduce pain and protect the stomach lining.