Harvard Health Letter

By the way, doctor: Does an H. pylori infection without symptoms need to be treated?

Q. I'm in my mid-80s and am infected with H. pylori, the "ulcer bacteria." I don't have any symptoms and have heard that half of everyone over age 60 tests positive for H. pylori and that many people never develop ulcers. Do I need to be treated?

A. Helicobacter pyloriH. pylori — is a species of bacteria that has coexisted with human beings since we first evolved in Africa. In the mid-1980s, two Australian doctors, Barry Marshall and J. Robin Warren, found H. pylori in many peptic ulcers, which occur in the stomach and the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers were very common at that time.

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