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Helicobacter Pylori Antibody

Does this test have other names?

H. pylori

What is this test?

This test measures the levels of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) antibodies in your blood.

H. pylori are bacteria that can invade your gut. H. pylori infection is one of the major causes of peptic ulcer disease. This happens when inflammation caused by the bacteria affects the mucus coating of your stomach or duodenum, the first section of your small intestine. This leads to sores on this lining and is called peptic ulcer disease.

This test can help your healthcare provider find out whether your peptic ulcers are caused by H. pylori. If antibodies are present, it may mean that they are there to fight H. pylori bacteria. Although H. pylori bacteria are a leading cause of peptic ulcers, these ulcers may also develop from taking too many nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.

Why do I need this test?

You may need this test if your healthcare provider suspects that you have peptic ulcer disease. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Burning sensation in your belly

  • Tenderness in your belly

  • Gnawing pain in your belly

  • Intestinal bleeding

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your healthcare provider may also order other tests to look for the actual presence of the H. pylori bacteria. These tests might include a stool sample test or an endoscopy, in which a thin tube with a camera on the end is passed down your throat and into your upper gastrointestinal tract. Using special instruments, your healthcare provider can then remove a small piece of tissue to look for H. pylori.

What do my test results mean?

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

Normal results are negative, meaning that no H. pylori antibodies were found and that you don't have an infection with these bacteria.

Positive results mean that H. pylori antibodies were found. You don't necessarily have an infection with H. pylori, however. H. pylori antibodies may linger in your body long after the bacteria have been removed by your immune system.

How is this test done?

The test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand. 

Does this test pose any risks?

Having a blood test with a needle carries some risks. These include bleeding, infection, bruising, and feeling lightheaded. When the needle pricks your arm or hand, you may feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward, the site may be sore. 

What might affect my test results?

Past infection with H. pylori can affect your results, giving you a false-positive.

How do I get ready for this test?

You don't need to prepare for this test. Be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Haldeman-Englert, Chad, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2017
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