Which H. Pylori Test Is More Accurate – Stool, Urea, Blood or Biopsy?
H. Pylori is a gut dwelling bacterium that is found in almost half of the population. It has recently been determined to be a major contributing factor to peptic ulcers, with an H. Pylori infection being one of the most common causes behind medication use. Previously, it was thought that acid reflux from spicy foods and stress were the underlying sources of digestive system ulcers but, that has changed with H. Pylori being a frontrunner amongst such causes. As such, an H. Pylori test has become much more ordinary for its role in diagnosing these digestive disorders.
Indigestion pain is one of the first symptoms of ulcers resulting from H. Pylori. And, this discomfort is often the result of an underlying condition, which peptic ulcer certainly qualify as. Proper medical diagnosis of indigestion pain is often difficult. However, when signs and symptoms of the bacterium are present, an H. Pylori test can be an incredibly effective diagnostic tool.
There are several different methods for determining whether H. Pylori is present in symptomatic individuals. One of the most common is a blood test. WebMD explains that this test is used to determine whether or not the body has begun to produce antibodies to H. Pylori, which then can help identify if the bacterium is present. One of the benefits to this particular H. Pylori test is that additional blood work can be done as needed as part of a full panel.
Another type of test used to identify the presence of the bacterium is a urea breath test. This test can help to determine if an active infection is present and if the bacterium exists in the stomach. Another purpose of the Urea breath test is as an aftercare measure in order to determine if treatment attempts have been successful. In some cases, a stomach biopsy may be used as a more invasive means of determining the presence of H. Pylori. While certainly not the most cost effective route, it can be very effective at identifying the existence of the bacterium in the stomach. It can often be performed as part of an endoscopy procedure, which can make it more practical when the procedure is part of other diagnostic measures. The sample taken from the biopsy can be used for other testing purposes as well, which can increase the value of this particular test.
But, one of the most simple and inexpensive tests is actually the most accurate and easy way to identify a population of H. Pylori – a stool test. The National Institutes of Health point out that studies show that the faecal antigen test was not only the most accurate H. Pylori test for providing diagnosis, but also the most cost effective. The study also mentions that while the urea breath test is a non invasive option like the stool sample, that the test can be difficult. And, blood samples are easy to obtain, but results are less accurate than other means when testing for H. Pylori.
Once a successful H. Pylori test has confirmed diagnosis regardless of means, its then time for the multi step approach treatment for the bacterium and the conditions that have resulted. Most often, proton pump inhibitors are used to control stomach acid production which can aggravate ulcers caused by the bacterium. And, H. Pylori treatment almost always involves the use of antibiotics as well. Many times, treatment can afford a reduction in indigestion like symptoms, however some medications used can contribute to side effects such as diarrhea, constipation and stomach bloating. Natural and alternative therapy options such as an H. Pylori diet or herbal remedies can be employed to additionally help in symptom management and to help reduce the growth of the bacteria.
It is incredibly important that if H. Pylori is suspected, that medical care be sought out. This is because when left untreated, ulcers caused from the stomach dwelling bacteria can lead to serious complications. Bleeding, obstruction and perforation (a serious medical emergency by which the ulcer eats its way through the wall of the affected tissue leading to abdominal leakage) can occur if conditions worsen. Therefore a consultation with a health care provider to investigate and diagnose an H. Pylori infection. Once suspected, an H. Pylori test can be ordered in order to accurately determine if the stomach residing bacterium are to blame for symptoms.