H pylori thrive in the gastric pool and swim with ease with the aid of their flagella. As voracious as piranhas they make mince meat of stomach cells, causing bleeding and peptic ulcers that could eventually perforate.
In Malaysia ethnic Chinese have the largest incidence of H pylori colonisation in their bellies while the Indian population comes a close second and the lowest percentage is among the Malays.
No one should attempt to take on these Jurassic-like invisible horrors through self-diagnosis, self-doctoring or self-medication with antacids.
Symptoms of H pylori infection include an unusually full-feeling in the stomach and sharp fiery pain from the navel to the breastbone with intermittent vomiting as well as nausea. The abdominal pain can radiate to the throat, sometimes to the back, the lower abdomen and of course the solar plexus and the apex of the shoulders.
Most patients complain of unbearable chest burn and a sourish-pungent taste flourishing in the mouth. Acid reflux is common during an attack and sometimes the symptoms of H pylori infection can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack and vice versa. That is why gastric pain and symptoms of acid reflux must be promptly examined by a doctor.
H pylori infection can be diagnosed via blood tests, breath tests and oral gastro-duodenal scopy and or colonoscopy. During the scope procedure the physician will remove some stomach tissue to be tested for malignancy.