I was diagnosed with an H. pylori infection in July 2012, and to this day I still get views on my posts about that time in my life. I figured it would be a good idea to create a sort of master post to detail my journey through H. pylori for anyone that finds my blog and is struggling with the infection.
What is H. pylori?
According to WebMD, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that can enter one’s body and live in the digestive tract. H. pylori can cause ulcers in the lining of the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine. For some people, an infection can lead to stomach cancer.
H. pylori can be contracted from food, water, or utensils. It’s more common in countries that lack clean water or good sewage systems. You can also pick up the bacteria through contact with the saliva or other body fluids of infected people.
I have no idea how I was infected with H. pylori, but it was pretty rough. For months, I struggled with a burning stomach pain, heartburn, bloating, weight loss, and bloody stools.
Once I was diagnosed with H. pylori, my doctor immediately prescribed me a triple therapy medication called PrevPac. Each day of the triple therapy medication protocol I took eight pills; four in the morning and four in the evening.
PrevPac includes a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), and two antibiotics. The PPI works to block acid production in the stomach, which can help existing ulcers heal. The antibiotics treat the infection by stopping the growth of bacteria.
I won’t lie, my experience with PrevPac wasn’t fun. I had a lot of the common side effects such as nausea, a metallic taste in my mouth, and fatigue. The nausea was definitely the worst symptom to deal with. I just felt like I couldn’t function.
I took PrevPac for two weeks, and then my gastroenterologist performed an endoscopy to biopsy parts of my esophagus, stomach, and duodenum to check if the infection was still present.
The endoscopy wasn’t bad at all. I had an IV inserted, was put under anesthesia, and woke up about an hour later. The only side effects I had from the endoscopy were a sore throat and mild stomach pain. A week later, I found out that the biopsies tested negative for the infection, so the medication had worked.
Unfortunately, I will always carry the antibodies for H. pylori. If you were to test my blood for H. pylori today, it would show up as positive for a presence of the bacteria.
Thankfully, most ulcers and side effects of H. pylori usually heal after a few weeks of treatment. One way H. pylori still impacts me today is that I generally try to avoid NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen, etc. because they can damage the lining of the stomach.
From the time of diagnosis until I was in the clear after my endoscopy was an intense time in my life. I felt pretty sick from the medication, but was urged to try and take it no matter what so my body didn’t build up a resistance to the antibiotics. I didn’t feel like myself for a few months, but I’m blessed that I was able to learn what was wrong and take medication to treat it!
Past posts on my infection
If you have any questions about H. pylori, feel free to email me (alliezottola (at) gmail (dot) com) or leave a comment!
Oh my goodness, sorry to hear that you had/have to go through that! Luckily, even though its “incurable” it’s nice knowing that it won’t completely effect your every day life opposed to something more vigorous. I think its brave of people to come to terms with something that had physically effected their health and are willing to share awareness of the matter, because I surely had no idea that h pylori existed. Stay strong girlie!!
Thanks, Jenny! It was definitely a tough thing to go through, but I’m glad things aren’t as bad any more!! Yay for awareness 🙂
I remember when you were going through this, Allie. I’m glad you overcame it even if you still have traces of the bacteria today. I think these kinds of posts are very important because you never know who out there may have H.Pylori now and feel very alone. I’ve read a few bloggers who have my current injury (peroneal tendonitis), and while I know a blog isn’t a substitute for medical advice, it’s nice to know there’s someone else out there who went through it, recovered, and who you can talk to if you need support.
I thought you might remember! You’ve been reading my blog since the early days 🙂
You’re so right–I wanted to share in case anyone was in the same situation. I can remember looking up things about H. pylori and wishing I just had someone to talk to, haha.
I’m so glad you’ve experienced help and companionship from other bloggers who have/had peroneal tendonitis!! I hope it gets better for you, Amy!
I’m glad you recovered and have no lasting effects, apart from not being able to take NSAID painkillers. H. pylori sounds awful! I think we started following each others’ blogs in 2012 (that was the year my mum was seriously ill and I was struggling to cope, so it’s all a bit of a blur for me) and I remember reading your post about the endoscopy.
Thanks, Grace! I remember your mom being very sick and us emailing about it a lot. That must have been such a hard time for you, especially since you were five years younger than you are now. I know that situation has made you stronger!
Allie, remember those days, scary but God is Good!!
Amen! Love you, Dad!
No fun at ALL! I’m so glad that you’re feeling better!!
Agreed! Thanks, Nicole 🙂
Wow I had no idea!! I’m sorry girl! What a terrible thing to have to go through.
My stomach is super sensitive so I too try to avoid NSAIDs– although sometimes it becomes very difficult when I am attacked with migraines or cramps 😦
Haha, yeah! NSAIDs are hard to avoid! Especially when the period monster comes, haha.
Girl, I totally forgot about this! Looking back on it I’m so glad you were able to get the medical care you needed and that the lasting effects aren’t terrible. I know all about how miserable it is to face nausea day in and day out so I really feel for you on that! So glad things are better now! 🙂
Amen!! I think about how blessed I was to have access to the medication my body desperately needed! I was thinking about that nausea I felt and thinking of you! You’ve been dealing with it (sometimes severely!) for months on end. You’re such a trooper! It’s good to know at the end of all the sickness you will have Baby Girl 🙂
Ah I’m so sorry that you got H. pylori, chica ☹ No fun! Thank you for sharing this though- this will be helpful to others who experience this for sure. And for me, it’s always good to know what patients are going through on a personal level with these different illnesses. I’m so sorry this happened to you though! Praise God all is getting a bit better. Has it been okay since?!
Thanks Mackenzie! It was rough, but I’m so thankful God brought me through what I hope is the worst of it! I haven’t had any bad flare ups since late 2012, thankfully!!
Whoever has you as their nurse is so blessed!! I know you’re so caring and kind! ❤
Allie- you are the SWEETEST! Thank YOU for your sweet words ❤ That just made my day. And thank God no flare ups for almost 5 years!! Woohoo! (Also- I can't believe 2012 was 5 years ago?! Where has the time gone?!)
Hi, I have H. Pylori and on the antibiotics and PPI for 1 week so far. I’m afraid that after I finish all my meds that I won’t be out of the woods, maybe I might need to do an endoscopy as well. My question is was there any foods you avoided or ate that helped? Thanks.
Hi Patricia! Thanks for your comment and I’m so sorry to hear about your H. Pylori infection. I hope you get to feeling better ASAP! As far as foods, I avoided too much caffeine, acidic foods like citrus and tomato products (tomato products especially seemed to set me off), carbonated drinks, peppermint, onions, and chocolate.
Thanks for this post. I just finished my antibiotic treatment for 14 days. How long did it take for you to get back to normal. The day after the treatment , I still felt tightness in the stomach.
Hi Vaani! Congrats on finishing your antibiotic treatment! I’m sorry to hear you’re still feeling tightness in your stomach. It took me about two weeks after completing the antibiotic treatment until I started to feel more like myself. Within a few months I felt totally normal! I hope this helps 🙂 Hang in there!!
Hello. I tested positive for h pylori. I’m nervous to start my antibiotics worried about the side effects. I am having to take it for 10 days 3 times a day. Were you able to go to work and eat with the side effects you experienced? I’m a thin person and I really don’t want to lose anymore weight. My only symptoms with h pylori is after I eat I feel something stuck in my throat and chest and discomfort 1-2 hours after I ate even eating non spicy food and I cut off caffeine and fast food. I only experienced stomach ache one day which lead to the symptoms I started to experiencing. I just hope I can got to work while I’m on this medication.
I’m sorry to hear you have h. Pylori. I will send you an email as soon as I can! Hang in there!!