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
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
- 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.
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
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
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.