• Frequently Asked Questions

    Can H. pylori infection be prevented?

    No one knows for sure how H. pylori spreads, so prevention is difficult. There are currently no human vaccines available to protect against H. pylori infections.

    Do ulcers come back?

    Taking an ulcer medication can heal the ulcer but if the bacteria are still present, the ulcer will most likely come back. If an ulcer is caused by medication, then stopping the medication can prevent ulcer recurrences. There is a group of patients who may have ulcers unrelated to H. Pylori or drugs and these ulcers may recur spontaneously.

    I have heard that H. Pylori can cause cancer. Is this true?

    H. pylori infection is considered to be a carcinogen by the World Health Organization as it is associated with the development of stomach cancer. Medications for treating H. pylori are 80 — 90% effective.

    What are the complications of ulcers?

    There are three main complications that can result from peptic ulcers. 

    1) Bleeding: Bleeding may be the first symptom and of an ulcer. Bleeding ulcers can cause vomiting of red blood or black coffee ground like material.  If the blood passes out through the bowel, you may have black bowel movements. If there is a lot of bleeding both black and red stool may be passed.  When an ulcer continues to bleed without treatment, you may become weak and anemic.

    2) Obstruction: An ulcer can cause an obstruction or blockage of the stomach or duodenum. This may be due to acute swelling from the inflamed ulcer. With long standing ulcers, there can be healing with scarring that leads to the blockage. Patients with obstruction may have problems with filling up quickly when eating, nausea, and vomiting. 

    3) Perforation: Rarely ulcers may create a hole in the lining of the stomach or duodenum and result in a perforation.  If this happens, you will experience sudden, severe abdominal pain. 

    It is always important to contact your doctor immediately if your symptoms worsen.

Enhancing lifelong health

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation believes our ability to help establish, enrich and protect a healthy gut microbiota is the key to lifelong health