nav-left cat-right
cat-right

H pylori retesting – how can you tell H pylori has gone?

H pylori retesting is an important topic because there is no other way of knowing whether H pylori has been eradicated.

Even if your symptoms improve, H pylori can still be hanging around in your stomach after you’re completed your treatment.

Unfortunately, doctors may not always want to run a retest, so it’s important to understand your options.

This short video and article will provide you with guidance on exactly what to do when it comes to H pylori retesting.

Enjoy!

Why don’t docs H pylori retesting?

Some doctors do run H pylori retesting, but others don’t.

If you don’t retest, you have absolutely no way of knowing whether your H pylori has been eradicated.

Alas, some docs believe that H pylori treatment works – you take your triple or quadruple therapy for 7-14 days and that’s it, you’re done.

But as you know if you’ve read the statistics I present on this website, H pylori treatment is only successful 65-70% of the time.

In my humble opinion, it’s absolutely essential to retest for H pylori to make sure your treatment has done the job.

This is the case irrespective of whether you have chosen a natural protocol such as the one I teach in my book, or  pharmaceutical approach.

Symptom relief doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek H pylori retesting

Sometimes your symptoms will improve, but H pylori will still be there.

Just because your heartburn, reflux, tummy pain and other complaints feel better, H pylori can still be hanging around.

If you’re not careful you can experience a relapse of your symptoms and end up being confused as to why you don’t feel well again.

How long should you wait before retesting for H pylori?

Medical guidelines state that you should wait at least four weeks after completing treatment before running any H pylori retesting.

Why?

If you retest straight after treatment, you may end up with a false negative result.

H pylori might still be there, but only in very small quantities.

The test may not be sensitive enough to find this depleted population.

After a couple of weeks, the H pylori bacteria can begin multiplying again and end up being at high levels after 3-4 weeks.

Thus, if you run your H pylori retesting after 4 weeks, you have more chance of finding it if it’s still there.

H pylori retesting and PPI medications

It’s important to avoid proton pump inhibitors for 2 weeks prior to using a breath test or stool test for H pylori.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s an initial test for H pylori, or a retest.

Taking PPIs when you test for H pylori can skew the result and give you a false negative for similar reasons to those explained above.

If you experience heartburn and acid reflux and your symptoms worsen significantly when you stop taking PPIs, retesting can be quite difficult.

In this situation, I strongly recommend you contact us so we can consult with you on how you may gradually bring down your PPI dose and eventually discontinue it.

I DON’T recommend you attempt to discontinue your PPIs without working closely with your doctor and someone (like us) who knows how to help.

You CAN get off these medications – don’t believe anyone who says otherwise. It just takes some care and know how.

What if your doctor refuses to retest for H pylori?

This does happen.

We’ve been contacted by many people from around the world who complained that despite their protestations, the doc didn’t want to retest.

If you’re in this situation, you can get a home stool test for H pylori here.

Yes, it’s an out of pocket cost, but it’s well worth it.

More than just H pylori retesting

If you’ve read a lot of my info, attended a webinar or seen me speak I’m very keen on people getting a comprehensive stool analysis done.

Not only does the test check for H pylori (either up front or as a retest), but it also looks for many other reasons for symptoms.

I’m biased, but I can’t understand why – apart from cost, perhaps,  people don’t do these tests because the range of info provided is so thorough.

A home stool test checks:

  • H pylori (not just H pylori, but specifically whether you have one of the more dangerous CagA or VacA strains)
  • Parasites such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, amoebas and Blastocystis hominis
  • Candida and other yeast/fungi
  • Pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter.
  • Gastrointestinal viruses
  • “Good” bacteria levels
  • Gluten sensitivity
  • Immune function
  • Pancreatic function

Of course, you probably don’t want to run this test if, after H pylori treatment, you feel great!

This is more for situations in which you might feel no better, or even worse, after your treatment.

Or, of course, if you’re at a complete loss as to why you’re feeling crappy and the doc doesn’t seem to be helping.

H pylori retesting checklist

  • Take retesting seriously – it’s important
  • Wait at least 4 weeks after treatment has finished before getting retested
  • Do NOT use a blood test as H pylori antibodies can remain elevated for several months even if H pylori has gone
  • Avoid proton pump inhibitors and other acid blocking drugs for 2 weeks prior to retesting
  • If your doctor refuses to retest, consider using a home stool test (either H pylori-only or a comprehensive test if your symptoms are not budging)

On a final note, if your H pylori retest is negative, but you feel intuitively it’s still there, consider a second test (breath, stool or endoscopy).

Also, if you haven’t changed your diet, please do so because it could be your food that’s keeping you feeling under the weather.

As always, if you’d like some assistance, please drop us a line or consider a Skype consult.

And don’t forget to check out the stool testing options if you a draw a blank with your doc.

I hope this has helped and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best,

Dave.

PS, if you’ve had trouble getting a retest, let us know by leaving a comment below.

Related Posts