How to get tested for H. pylori

Dan Wich looking disgusted at a urine test

By: Dan Wich

I'm not very knowledgeable on Helicobacter pylori issues, but I thought it was cool that there's some options for testing it cheaply. So here my notes on sources for ordering the testing yourself. Please leave a comment if there's any notes I should add.

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Outside the US?

At-home blood spot testing

These tests are meant to show whether you've developed H. pylori antibodies, so they might show you a positive test result even if you're no longer infected. The breath and stool sections below have more expensive tests that test for active infections.

I've only found two affordable/consumer sources available to people in the US. They both ship from the UK.

I haven't found any information of how accurate these test kits are, but a similar-looking medical supply option says it has 90% sensitivity and 78% specificity.

Here's a video of the steps involved with performing the SELFCheck brand test.

Blood testing at a local testing center

Blood testing looks for antibodies like the at-home tests do, so it could share the downside of giving a positive result when you're no longer infected. I suspect it's more reliable than the at-home tests though.

Stool testing (delivered to a local office or mailed)

If you don't mind some poop-gatherin', stool testing might be the best test method (see here and here), although the breath testing appears to be pretty reliable too.

You'll typically get a collection kit in the mail or picked up from a local office, and then either mail it back or redeliver it to the local office depending on which company you're working with.

Breath testing at a local testing center

For this test you give a breath sample before and after consuming a special capsule or drink that contains urea. It looks like you typically get results back in 3-4 business days.

Options in Canada

I've only found one option in Canada other than the mail-order options in the international section:

Options in the UK

Home blood spot testing:
Local blood draw testing:
Stool sample testing:
Breath testing:

Options for Europe in general

Options in Australia

I only found one consumer-ordered testing option in Australia:

You can also see the international blood spot test information below.

Options for other countries

All of these UK-based companies ship the blood spot tests internationally:


Body organ cartoon characters with YouTube play button

If you're interested in self-testing as I am, you might enjoy my explainer videos and my Facebook / Twitter.


Comments

Please leave a comment if you see a way to improve this page or if you have any questions. Keep in mind that I know little about the medical side of bloodwork, I just enjoy making sites with lists of things.

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