Peptic Ulcer

The peptic ulcer test will test for the presence of antibodies to H. pylori to detect and identify peptic ulcers. Order from Ulta Lab Tests today with results sent confidentially online in 1 to 2 days.

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Helicobacter pylori is a gram-negative microaerophilic curved bacillus with an affinity for human gastric mucosa. H. pylori has been identified as an important pathogen in the upper GI tract. The casual relationship between H. pylori and chronic active gastritis, duodenal ulcers, and gastric ulcers has been well documented. BreathTek™ UBiT® for H. pylori is a non-invasive, non-radioactive method for detecting urease activity associated with H. pylori infection. It is FDA approved to confirm cure and offers 95.2% sensitivity and 89.7% specificity compared with endoscopic methods.

Helicobacter Pylori Ag, Eia, Stool

IMPORTANT: Patient Self Collection Required - Instructions 

  1. Patient to visit a Quest Patient Service Center to obtain the designated sterile collection container required for the test.
  2. Patient self-collects stool sample off site from PSC.
  3. Patient self-collects 0.5 mL or 0.5 grams of semi-solid stool or 20 mm diameter solid stool and transfer to properly labeled plastic, leak-proof container.
  4. Label the specimen collection container:
    1. Record the date and time on the specimen collection.
    2. Record the patients full name as on requisition and DOB.
  5. IMPORTANT: Watery, diarrheal stool is not acceptable.
  6. IMPORTANT: The stool sample must be refrigerated immediately after collection.
  7. The stool specimen must be packed with cold packs and returned to the Quest Patient Service Center with the Patient Requisition within 24 hours of collection.


Patient Preparation

For initial diagnostic purposes no special patient preparation is required. Patients are not required to be off of medications or to fast before this test. While positive test results from patients taking agents such as proton pump inhibitors and antimicrobials should be considered accurate, false negative results may be obtained. For this reason, physicians may suggest the patient go off medications for two weeks and repeat test if negative results are obtained.

To confirm eradication, testing should be done at least 4 weeks following the completion of treatment. However, a positive test result 7 days’ post therapy is indicative of treatment failure.


Clinical Background

Helicobacter pylori infection has been associated with duodenal and gastric ulcers and chronic active, chronic persistent, and atrophic gastritis in adults and children. Infected persons have a 2- to 6-fold increased risk of developing gastric cancer and mucosal-associated-lymphoid-type (MALT) lymphoma.


Noninvasive Assays

The UBT and stool antigen test are highly sensitive and specific for H pylori infection. These assays have been recommended by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the American College of Gastroenterologists (ACG) as the most accurate noninvasive tests for diagnosis of H pylori infection and for confirmation of eradication after therapy.

The fecal occult blood test is an immunochromatographic fecal occult blood test that qualitatively detects human hemoglobin from blood in fecal samples. This is a useful screening aid for detecting primarily lower gastrointestinal (G.I.) disorders that may be related to iron deficiency anemia, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, polyps, adenomas, colorectal cancers or other G.I. lesions that can bleed. It is recommended for use by health professionals as part of routine physical examinations and in screening for colorectal cancer or other sources of lower G.I. bleeding.

Usual method for determining anemia. Used to calculate indices.

For the diagnosis and monitoring of gastrin-secreting tumors, gastric ulcer, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Increased in pernicious anemia.

Physicians diagnose 4.6 million people in the United States with peptic ulcer disease every single year. These sores cause abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and more. So, if you've been experiencing these symptoms, you're not alone.

However, if you haven't gotten a diagnosis for peptic ulcer disease yet, you may need a peptic ulcer test. Peptic ulcer testing can help you get a definitive answer as to whether or not you're suffering from the condition.

And, if your test comes back positive, you can get the medical attention and care that you need to prevent further complications.

To learn more about peptic ulcers and the benefits of a peptic ulcer test, keep reading. We have everything you need to know in this peptic ulcer test guide.

What Is a Peptic Ulcer?

Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside of the stomach. Specifically, they form on the inner lining of the stomach wall. Some peptic ulcerations even develop at the start of the small intestine.

Ulcerations that form in the stomach are called gastric ulcers. On the other hand, duodenal ulcers are those that form in the small intestine.

What Are the Risk Factors for a Peptic Ulcer?

The most common risk factor in patients with peptic ulcers is NSAID use. Patients who develop peptic ulcers tend to take more NSAIDs than patients who do not. However, this isn't the only risk factor associated with the condition.

Another common risk factor is alcohol consumption. If you drink alcohol regularly, the alcohol can irritate and erode the lining of your stomach. Thus, your body can develop ulcerations. 

Over time, erosion from alcohol can cause an increase in the amount of stomach acid that your body is producing, too. So, you may have more extreme symptoms such as burning and vomiting.

A lesser-known contributor to the development of peptic ulcers is smoking. In patients who have H. pylori infections, smoking can increase the risk for peptic ulcers.

Lastly, we'll touch on spicy foods and stress once again. These two things do not cause peptic ulcers. However, they are considered risk factors for the condition since they can exacerbate already-existing issues in the inner lining of the stomach.

What Causes Peptic Ulcers?

There are multiple causes of peptic ulcers.

The most common cause is an H. pylori infection. H. pylori, or Helicobacter pylori, is a kind of bacteria that can wreak havoc on the digestive system. Unfortunately, most people with H. pylori infections don't even realize that they have an infection because they do not develop symptoms.

Another common cause of developing peptic ulcers is long-term NSAID use. NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This includes things like ibuprofen (Advil), Motrin, and naproxen sodium (Aleve).

Taking too many of these kinds of medications can weaken the inner lining of your stomach. Therefore, ulcerations can form as the stomach lining breaks down.

Some people believe that stress and spicy foods can cause ulcers. However, this isn't supported by gastroenteric research. Rather, these kinds of factors make already-existing ulcers worse.

So, you should still avoid these if you're experiencing symptoms of a peptic ulcer or if you have an official diagnosis of peptic ulcer disease.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Peptic Ulcer?

Since peptic ulcers affect your gastric system, patients with them often feel symptoms associated with their abdomen. However, it's important to note that many patients with gastric ulcers don't feel any symptoms. Feelings of pain and bloating may come slowly over time.

Here are some of the most commonly reported symptoms in patients with peptic ulcers:

  • Burning pain in the abdomen, especially in the left upper quadrant where the stomach is located
  • A persistent feeling of fullness in the stomach despite not eating recently
  • Bloating in the abdomen
  • Repeated belching
  • Intolerance to foods that are high in fat
  • A burning sensation in the heart
  • Persistent nausea

The most common symptom is burning abdominal pain. However, this can become better after eating. If you aren't eating for long periods of time, the ulcerations in your stomach can become exposed to the acid. Thus, the pain worsens.

This also explains why patients find that the stomach pain gets worse in between meals and at night.

Some patients find that they can relieve their pain by eating foods that block the acid in the stomach. Alternatively, you can take a medication that reduces stomach acid.

What Happens If Peptic Ulcers Go Untreated?

Patients that have advanced peptic ulcers have even worse symptoms. And, they can develop secondary conditions from the damage that the ulcerations are causing.

Here are the severe signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers:

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Vomiting blood which may appear red or black
  • Producing bloody stools with may appear dark and/or tarry
  • Trouble breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Changes in appetite

If you're experiencing these more serious symptoms, you should see a physician as soon as possible. Without treatment, your condition will only worsen.

In fact, several complications can come with peptic ulcers. Here are some of the most common complications that can happen in patients with peptic ulcers:

  • Internal bleeding, which can lead to anemia and even fatal blood loss
  • A perforation in the stomach wall, which can put the patient at an increased risk for infection in the abdominal cavity
  • An obstruction in the digestive system can make it impossible to keep food down, leading to vomiting and weight loss
  • The development of gastric cancer

If you think you're experiencing blood loss, you need to test your iron levels.

All in all, you need to make sure that you see a physician as soon as possible if you've started developing symptoms. The sooner you can start treatment, the less damage that these ulcerations can do.

What Lab Tests Diagnose Peptic Ulcers?

To determine whether or not you have peptic ulcers, your physician may run peptic ulcer tests. More specifically, they'll be looking for H. pylori. They can detect whether or not H. pylori bacteria are present in your system.

Although physicians can perform this test through blood, stool, or breath samples, breath samples are the most accurate. 

To do a breath test, you must first eat something that contains radioactive carbon. If you have H. pylori in your system, the bacteria will break down the radioactive carbon into carbon dioxide. So, when you breathe into a bag later, elevated levels of carbon dioxide will show up in your sample.

For blood and stool tests, your physician will simply take the sample they need and examine the sample under a microscope to check for the bacteria. 

If these tests come back positive, your physician will create a treatment plan for your condition. However, if they come back negative, your physician may begin testing for other conditions that produce similar symptoms.

Are There Diagnostic Tests to Diagnose Peptic Ulcers?

There are two diagnostic tests that your physician may consider running instead of or in congruence with the aforementioned lab tests:

  1. An endoscopy
  2. An upper abdominal series

During an endoscopy, a physician uses a scope to look at your upper digestive system. He/She will use a hollow tube with a lens to look down your throat and into your stomach and small intestine. With this device, he/she can check for any ulcerations.

If the physician does see an ulcer, they will likely take a biopsy of the area. With this biopsy, a laboratory technician can determine whether or not you have H. pylori bacteria in your system.

Physicians tend to opt for endoscopies in older patients, display signs of bleeding, or have had recent weight loss or loss of appetite. Usually, these patients will need a follow-up endoscopy to determine whether or not their treatment was successful in healing the ulcerations.

An upper abdominal series is less invasive than an endoscopy, but it can still give your physician some useful information about how your gastrointestinal system works. An upper abdominal series, also known as a barium swallow, is a series of x-rays that look at your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

During the study, you'll swallow a white liquid that contains barium. This liquid coats the entire digestive system, making it easier for your physician to see any ulcerations that you may have in your stomach or small intestine. 

An upper abdominal series is preferred for patients who are less emergent.

Getting a Peptic Ulcer Test

If you're starting to show signs and symptoms of a peptic ulcer, you need to get a peptic ulcer test. This can help you determine whether or not you need to start making some changes.

Without the test, your condition could go untreated. Then, you could be looking at complications like infections and perforations.

So, what are you waiting for? At Ulta Lab Tests, we have secure and confidential results and you don't need any insurance or referral. All you need to do is order your peptic ulcer test, visit a local testing facility, and then wait 24 to 48 hours for your results.

It's better to be safe than sorry. So, order your test today.

peptic ulcer is a sore that develops in the lining of the stomach, esophagus or upper section of the intestine.  The stomach is a muscular and strong organ that crushes and grinds food.  This is combined with digestive juices such as bile acids, hydrochloric acid, and enzymes such as pepsin.  The lining of the stomach is covered in a mucus layer to protect it from these juices.  The lining is also protected by prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances related to muscle contractions.  If there is an imbalance in the digestive juices, the stomach lining can be damaged, and an ulcer or open sore will form. 

There are two primary types of ulcers, the duodenal ulcer in the first segment of the intestine, and the gastric ulcer in the stomach.  Peptic ulcers can form in the esophagus just above the stomach, but this is rare.  

Peptic ulcers are generally caused by Helicobacter pylori bacterial infections and the long-term use of NSAIDs (or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like naproxen, aspirin, and ibuprofen.  

H. pylori is carried by approximately 40% of Americans, and almost 50% of the world will have this bacteria in their digestive tracts.  The bacteria is believed to spread through contaminated drinking water and food or contact with bodily fluids such as saliva from an infected person.  However, the source of the infection is relatively unknown.   

Most people who have this bacteria will never suffer from the ulcers it can cause.  The reason for this is unknown.  However, the bacteria can remain dormant in the digestive tract without causing any symptoms for years.  Of the people who have peptic ulcers, more than half of them will be infected with this bacteria. 

The other common cause of peptic ulcers is the long-term use of NSAIDs.  People who take these drugs every day or several times each week are more likely to develop peptic ulcers.  This is particularly true for people aged 70 and older.  Women are also more likely to develop peptic ulcers due to this than men.  People with two or more medical conditions or who take other medication as well are also at a greater risk of developing a peptic ulcer.   

Peptic ulcers can also be caused by the condition of Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, but this is rare.  This syndrome increases the production of gastrin due to a tumor in the intestine or pancreas. 

There are other factors that can also play a role in the development of a peptic ulcer, including: 

  • Smoking 
  • Stress 
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol 
  • Eating spicy foods 

The Signs and Symptoms 

The majority of people who have peptic ulcers do not have any symptoms.  Of the people who do have symptoms, the most common is a dull and burning pain.  This pain can occur anywhere in the abdomen between the breast bone and the naval.   

The pain also comes and goes over time while occurring a few hours after eating.  It can also happen during the night, but more often when the stomach is empty.  It could be temporarily relieved by eating or using antacids.   

Some of the other signs of a peptic ulcer include: 

  • Unintended weight loss 
  • Anemia 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Bloating 

There are some symptoms that require immediate medical treatment.  These include sharp and sudden or persistent pain in the stomach, and black or bloody stool or bloody vomit.  Vomit that looks like coffee grounds should also be looked at by a doctor.  

The Testing for Peptic Ulcers 

Diagnosing a peptic ulcer can be done using a few tests.  These tests will also help identify the cause, check for any complications, and determine the best treatment method.   

The Laboratory Tests 

To detect an infection of Helicobacter pylori, one or more tests can be done.  A stool antigen test and urea breath test are the most common and highly recommended to check for this infection.  They also provide treatment evaluations.  These tests are also regularly performed because they are non-invasive and fast.  It is important to note that the urea breath test will not be recommended for young children.  It is best for children to have the stool antigen test done. 

There are some tests that require endoscopy, which is the use of a flexible and small tube with a light and camera attached.  This will be used to view the upper digestive tract.  A small sample of the digestive tract tissue may be removed during the procedure.  This type of test is less common because of its invasive nature.   

  • The Stool Antigen Test 

To complete this test, a stool sample is required.  The specimen will be used to detect the presence of H. pylori antigens. 

To complete this test, a healthcare professional will take a sample of your breath by asking you to breathe into a bag.  This will be the baseline for the tests.  You will then have to drink a liquid that contains the substance urea and then wait 15 minutes. 

During this waiting time, if there is any H. pylori in your digestive tract, it will be broken down by the urea and turned into carbon dioxide.  The carbon dioxide will then be expelled from the body in your breath.  

The medical professional will then take a second breath sample.   

Both these samples will be sent to a laboratory for testing.  If the second breath sample has a higher level of carbon dioxide, you may have a bacterial infection in your digestive tract.   

  • The H. Pylori Antibody Test 

The antibody test is not recommended by the American College of Gastroenterologists, the American Society for Microbiology, or the Infectious Diseases Society of America for routine H. pylori infection testing.  It should also not be used for treatment evaluation because it cannot distinguish between past and present infections.  There are few healthcare providers who still order this test, and most laboratories have stopped offering it.   

If the test is done and the results are negative, you are unlikely to have this bacteria in your digestive tract.  However, if it is positive, a stool antigen or urea breath test should be conducted to confirm this.