Medical Questions » Stomach Questions » Question No. 953
Question:Would you please tell me about the ' helicopter' virus that is causing my stomach ulcer? I have just been given a huge concoction of tablets to kill it.
Answer:A significant proportion of stomach ulcers are caused by a bacteria (not virus) called Helicobacter pylori, which breaks down the protective mucus layer that lines the stomach. An ulcer is often diagnosed by a gastroscopy, and during this procedure a biopsy of an ulcer can be taken if there is any risk of cancer, and a special test can be performed to identify the presence of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Helicobacter pylori can also be detected by a test on the breath. A sample of your breath is collected in an airtight container and analysed for the presence of waste products from the bacteria. A blood test is also available, but less accurate. If by any means the presence of this bacteria is detected, a specific course of antibiotics and anti-ulcer medication (triple therapy) can be given to eradicate the infection, heal the ulcer, and in many cases, prevent a recurrence. In patients who have a negative test, or whose early mild symptoms do not warrant performing the test, numerous medications are available to control and sometimes cure peptic ulcers.
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