Does a stool sample test for h. pylori bacteria?

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Does a stool sample test for h. pylori bacteria?
A stool sample for H. pylori bacteria can be collected at home. (bathroom image by nutech21 from Fotolia.com)

H. pylori bacteria are the major cause of peptic ulcers. This bacterium damages the protective coating of the stomach, allowing stomach acid to irritate the lining. A stool sample test is one method of testing for the existence of H. pylori bacteria.

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Preparation

Some medications should not be taken prior to the stool sample test, as they may alter the test results, states WebMD. Pump inhibitors such as Prilosec or Nexium should not be taken for two weeks before the test. Medicines that contain bismuth, such as Pepto-Bismol, should not be taken for one month prior to the stool sample test.

Testing

According to WebMD, a stool sample test is a pain-free method to determine presence of H. pylori bacteria antigens. Samples collected at home are placed in a dry container with a lid, and the date the sample was taken is noted. The doctor may also insert a cotton swab into the rectum to collect a sample during an exam.

Results

The stool sample is sent to a laboratory where certain chemicals and a colour developer are added. When the test is complete, the presence of the colour blue indicates the existence of H. pylori bacteria antigens. Results from the stool sample test are normally available within a few hours.

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