Helicobacter Pylori Tests
How It Is Done continued...
The stool sample for this test may be collected at home. If you are in the hospital, a health professional will help you collect the sample.
To collect the sample, you need to:
- Pass stool into a dry container. Either solid or liquid stools can be collected. Be careful not to get urine or toilet tissue in with the stool sample.
- Replace the container cap and label the container with your name, your doctor's name, and the date the sample was collected.
Wash your hands well after collecting the sample to avoid spreading bacteria.
- Deliver the sealed container as soon as possible to your doctor's office or directly to the lab.
Your doctor may also use a cotton swab inserted into your rectum to collect a stool sample during an exam.
- Endoscopy is used to collect samples of tissue from the stomach and duodenum. The doctor may collect up to 10 tissue samples. To learn more, see the topic Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
- The tissue samples are tested in the lab to see if they contain H. pylori.
- In rare cases, a biopsy sample may be placed in a container that promotes the growth of H. pylori bacteria. This is called an H. pylori culture. If bacteria grow in the culture, tests (called susceptibility or sensitivity testing) can determine which antibiotic to use to treat the infection.
How It Feels
Blood antibody test
The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.
Urea breath test
A urea breath test does not normally cause discomfort.
Stool antigen test
Collecting a stool sample normally does not cause any discomfort.
If your doctor collects the sample during a rectal exam, you may feel some pressure or discomfort as the cotton swab is inserted into your rectum.
You may notice a brief, sharp pain when the intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in your arm. The local anesthetic sprayed into your throat usually tastes slightly bitter and will make your tongue and throat feel numb and swollen. Some people report that they feel as if they cannot breathe at times because of the tube in their throat, but this is a false sensation caused by the anesthetic. There is always plenty of breathing space around the tube in your mouth and throat. Remember to relax and take slow, deep breaths.