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Get the right H. pylori test

- Misleading tests can result in unnecessary treatments-

One commonly used H. pylori test will still show that you have traces of H. pylori, long after the bacterium has actually been eradicated from your system. Not only is this misleading, but it may prove costly if this test result is used as a diagnosis for further treatment.

H Pylori Close Up
A close up of the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria

Is your H. pylori test result accurate?

The purpose of any H. pylori test is to detect an infection or presence of Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) bacteria in your stomach and upper part of your small intestine (duodenum).

It is important to note that if you have never been treated for an H. pylori infection, then all the tests we discuss below can be relied upon for an accurate assessment of a past infection.

Note that that it is virtually impossible to remove H. pylori from your digestive tract without some form of treatment so if any tests reveal any trace of H. pylori, then chances are that there will be a presence of the bacteria in your system.

Below, we reveal why the most commonly used test produces very misleading results, even months after AFTER you have treated this infection successfully. Unfortunately this misleading information may lead your physician to prescribe further unnecessary medication to eradicate bacteria that actually is no longer present!



The 4 different types of H. pylori tests
  • Blood antibody test
    A blood test does not 'measure' the bacteria itself - instead it is a check to see whether your body has made antibodies to the H. pylori bacteria. If you have antibodies to H. pylori in your blood, this only means you may be currently infected, or that you definitely have been infected in the past.

    A Blood Test does not provide a definitive result
    on the actual status of H. pylori.

    This is because antibodies remain in the blood
    for between 12 to 18 months after the H.pylori
    bacterium has been successfully eradicated.

    DO NOT USE an H. pylori Blood test
    AFTER you have been treated!



  • Urea breath test
    A urea breath test checks to see if you have H. pylori bacteria in your stomach. It involves using a radioactive carbon atom to detect H. pylori bacteria.

    The breath test is not always available and the results are often inconsistent. This a very expensive test, and our research has shown that the results are fairly inconsistent. This has been proved when running a breath test concurrently with an H. pylori Stool Antigen test on the same patient.


  • Stool antigen test
    Also known as the HPSA test, this test provides the most conclusive evidence of the presence of H. pylori bacteria. The stool antigen test checks to see if substances that trigger the immune system to fight an H. pylori infection (H. pylori antigens) are present in your feces (stool).

    Stool antigen testing may be done to help support a diagnosis of a current H. pylori infection or to determine whether treatment for an H. pylori infection has been successful. We recommend this test after you have been treated - it produces a very accurate result of your H. pylori status.



  • Stomach biopsy
    A small sample (biopsy) is taken from the lining of your stomach and small intestine during an endoscopy. Several different tests may be done on the biopsy sample. Most of these test produce inconsistent results, and depend on the testing facility or laboratory used. This has been proved when running these tests concurrently with a benchmark HPSA test on the same patient.

Why H. pylori tests are done...

An H. pylori test is done for one of 2 reasons;

  • To determine whether an infection with H. pylori bacteria may be causing an ulcer or irritation of the stomach lining (gastritis)
  • To determine whether treatment for an H. pylori infection has been successful.

How to Prepare for an H. pylori test....

Blood antibody test or stool antigen test
You do not need to do anything before you have a blood antibody test or stool antigen (HPSA) test.

Stomach biopsy or urea breath test
Do not eat or drink for at least 6 hours before a breath test or a stomach biopsy. Many medicines may change the results of this test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the prescription and nonprescription medicines you take. Your doctor may recommend that you stop taking some of your medicines for up to 1 week before having this test.

  • Do not take antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors (such as Prilosec or Nexium), or medicines containing bismuth (such as Pepto-Bismol) for 1 to 2 weeks before the test.
  • Do not take H2 blockers, such as Pepcid AC, Zantac, Axid, or Tagamet for 24 hours before the test.


Talk to your health professional about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may mean.



Results

Helicobacter Pylori test results will determine an H. pylori infection in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine (duodenum).

Different tests - different result times

  • Results from the urea breath test or a stool antigen (HPSA) test are generally available within a few hours.
  • Results from a blood antibody test are usually available within 24 hours.
  • Results from biopsy samples obtained by endoscopy usually available within 48 hours.
  • Results from a biopsy sample that is cultured can take up to 10 days.

Good Practice for maintaining good health in the future....

After completing any treatment, it is good practice to do a Colon Cleanse, especially if you haven’t had one done in the last 12 months. This has no effect in eradicating the H. pylori bacteria, it simply makes good sense for maintaining your future good health.

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Sources and references

All our information is sourced from various digestive health experts,
a world renowned immunologist, and from these trusted websites;

Jama

The Lancet

NEJofM

BMJ


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