Stomach Ulcer Self-Tests: Detecting H pylori
Stomach ulcer self-tests are available at many online health stores to help determine if you might have a bacteria in your body that is known to cause stomach ulcers. While only a doctor can determine the presence of ulcers with complete certainty, stomach ulcer self-tests can help to confirm the need to visit a doctor about your condition.
If you feel a gnawing pain in your abdomen or a burning sensation around your stomach, you might have stomach ulcer symptoms. There are a few reasons that this may happen, but the most common reason is found in 90% of all people who have stomach ulcers.
Bacteria known as H pylori live in the gut of a third of the world’s population. These bacteria can remain dormant and have little impact on most people for very long periods of time or even an entire lifetime. However, a bacterial infection that causes the over production of acids and stomach ulcers does develop in many people.
The bacterial infection causes gastritis, or chronic swelling of the stomach. This swelling leads to the over production of stomach acids that, in turn, eat away the lining of the stomach and causes sores – also known as stomach ulcers.
Stomach Ulcer Self-Tests
Stomach ulcer self-tests are used to detect the H pylori bacteria in a person’s body. The test works by detecting antibodies in your blood that are created by the immune system in response to the presence of H pylori bacteria colonies.
Most stomach ulcer-self tests use a small drop of blood, similar to the amount used when a diabetic is testing blood-sugar levels. The self-test contains a small strip and a cassette. Once the blood is on the strip, it is placed in the cassette which will reveal either a positive or negative result for the antibodies that fight H pylori.
Important Info about H pylori or Stomach Ulcer Self-Tests
H pylori testing kits are a good way to find out if a person has this bacteria living in the body. Gastric swelling is a common effect of H pylori infection and can lead to stomach ulcers, even if you aren’t currently dealing with one.
Gastric swelling can also cause us to feel bloated and increases the amount of stomach acids we produce. This can cause significant acid-reflux related symptoms that damage the esophagus and other parts of the digestive system.
Stomach ulcer self-tests are not always accurate and can sometimes show negative results in people that have are carrying the bacteria. However, this type of test can help you decide to seek medical attention if the test shows a positive result for the antibodies.
An important thing to remember when using stomach ulcer self-tests is that they do not confirm the presence of a stomach ulcer, even though they may be named as such. Even though the majority of people with stomach ulcers do have an H pylori infection, the majority of people with H pylori antibodies (and therefore, H pylori bacteria) do not have stomach ulcers.
If we look at the numbers involved, we can see that H pylori related stomach ulcers really should be diagnosed by a doctor. As of 2010, there were nearly seven-billion people in the world. One third of those people are likely carrying the H pylori virus; that’s about 2-billion people.
Among these 2-billion people, only 10% will develop stomach ulcers (200 million). This means that there are more than one-billion, five-hundred million people who do NOT develop stomach ulcers because of H pylori bacteria. That is a big number!
Consult a Doctor Following Stomach Ulcer Self-Tests
While you might have the H pylori virus and it might be causing gastritis (chronic stomach swelling) that will eventually lead to a stomach ulcer, it isn’t conclusive evidence that a person actually has a stomach ulcer.
There are many symptoms associated with stomach ulcers that are caused by a plethora of other conditions. This is why a doctor needs to be involved in diagnosing the condition. What’s more, a doctor will conduct the same H pylori test (or similar test) to confirm what the self-test concluded.
Doctors have three options in confirming the results of a stomach ulcer self-test: another blood test, a fecal test, and a breath urea test. Once H pylori is confirmed and even when the bacteria is not found, there are other testing procedures a doctor can use to check for stomach ulcers.
An endoscopic procedure is the standard method by which medical professionals will check to see if a person has developed stomach ulcers. By inserting a camera into the stomach, through the mouth, they can see visual signs of sores in the stomach lining and accurately diagnose stomach ulcers.
Following this diagnosis, doctors generally prescribe a course of antibiotics in combination with acid reduction medications. The antibiotics, up to two varieties, are used to kill off the bacteria. The acid reducers will create a less acidic environment and allow the stomach ulcers to heal. Additionally, they may prescribe medications or recommend over the counter products that soothe the stomach and relieve the symptoms of a stomach ulcer.