Signs and symptoms
In general, those infected with HP are asymptomatic. When signs or symptoms are present, they may include the following:
- Abdominal pain (most often in the central-upper area)
- Hunger in the morning
- Halitosis (smelly mouth/breath)
Staging of the infection/disease
Although a staging system for the HP infection does not exist, some steps of the disease are well described.
The first step is chronic gastritis (inflammation/irritation of the internal layers of the stomach lasting for at least 3 months), followed after a time by the second step, atrophic gastritis (thinning of the internal layers of the stomach, usually as a result of a chronic gastritis). The third step is intestinal metaplasia (normal cells transform into abnormal ones), which may evolve into dysplasia (cellular changes often indicative of an early cancer). The last step in this process is gastric adenocarcinoma.
- Urea breath test (UBT)
- HP fecal antigen test
- HP serology (a blood test available now at Charlestown Medical Centre - results given in 15 minutes)