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Helicobacter Pylori Stool Test

Last updated May 9, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH


Microscopic pathology image of stomach showing gastric infection with Helicobacter pylori organisms on immuno stain on a endoscopic stomach biopsy.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • H. Pylori Specific IgM Antibody Stool Test
  • H. Pylori Specific PCR Stool Test
  • Helicobacter Pylori Stool Culture Test

What is Helicobacter Pylori Stool Test? (Background Information)

  • Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, is a bacteria responsible for causing stomach and intestinal ulcers. Upon ingestion, H. pylori migrate to the edge of the stomach wall. There, it is protected from the acidic environment by mucus. The bacterium releases several toxins that damages tissues and causes ulcers
  • H. pylorus is very commonly found in humans. It is present in up to 80% of individuals with ulcers, where it causes infection. It is also present in up to 50% of individuals, who do not exhibit any symptoms

The Helicobacter Pylori Stool Test detects the presence of H. pylori in the stool. It can do this in three different ways:

  • Detection of specific antibodies created by the immune system upon exposure to H. pylori: The presence of H. pylori-specific IgM antibodies indicates recent or current exposure; H. pylori-specific IgG antibodies indicate past exposure
  • Detection of genetic material belonging to H. pylori: A technique called PCR is used to detect traces of specific DNA that H. pylori is known to possess, but that which is absent in humans
  • Culturing H. pylori: A sample of stool is used to inoculate a growth medium, and the presence of growth after some time indicates the presence of H. pylori in the stool sample

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Helicobacter Pylori Stool Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Helicobacter Pylori Stool Test:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Gas
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Bloating
  • Discolored stool

How is the Specimen Collected for Helicobacter Pylori Stool Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Helicobacter Pylori Stool Test:

Sample required: Stool

Process: Defecation into a sterile container.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Helicobacter Pylori Stool Test Result?

  • A positive Helicobacter Pylori Stool Test may indicate infection or colonization by H. pylori

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Recent evidence indicates that Helicobacter pylori have the ability to transmit between household pets and humans

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 15, 2015
Last updated: May 9, 2019