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Diagnosing H. pylori Infection
Diagnosing H. pylori Infection

H. pylori Infection.

The H. pylori stool antigen test is a common test used to accurately diagnose whether you have an H. pylori infection. Detecting H. pylori is essential in identifying the cause of your symptoms and/or ulcers in the absence of more advanced signs. It is also valuable post-treatment to ensure the infection has been eliminated.

How is the test performed?

Stool Sample

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An H. pylori infection of the digestive tract is caused by a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, and although it is a very common infection, it is known to lead to the development of peptic ulcers and other stomach issues in some cases. 

The H. pylori stool antigen test is used to diagnose an infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers. Testing detects an infection of the digestive tract which is essential in identifying the cause of symptoms and/or ulcers in the absence of other more severe features.  It is a useful alternative to the Urea Breath Test (UBT). 

You should get tested when you have symptoms of an ulcer, such as ongoing indigestion, gastrointestinal pain that comes and goes, unexplained weight loss, nausea and/or vomiting. It is also recommended to get tested again about 4-6 weeks after completing treatment for the infection. 

Most people that have an H. pylori infection do not realize it because they do not experience any signs or symptoms. However, your doctor may order this test if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are experiencing the signs and symptoms of a peptic ulcer
  • You are under the age of 60
  • You are in the early stages of disease progression, based on your signs and symptoms, but do not require an endoscopy at this time
  • The Urea Breath Test (UBT) is unavailable due to the infection hazard posed by the COVID-19 pandemic

To have this test completed you will need to obtain a collection container and provide a stool sample at any of LifeLabs Patient Service Centres. Prior to visiting the Patient Service Centre please ensure you have a completed and signed test requisition from your health care provider as samples cannot be accepted without one. In addition, samples should be collected and dropped off at our Patient Service Centres on the same day.

For Ontario patients, this test is uninsured and will need to be ordered and paid for privately. You can order the test here.

Test results will be provided directly to your doctor for discussion with you. The report will indicate if H. pylori is detected in your stool sample. Results are reported as H. pylori antigen detected, not detected, or indeterminate. If the antigen is detected your test will come back with a positive result indicating the presence of H. pylori.  A negative result (antigen not detected) means either you do not have an H. pylori infection or the level of the antigen is too low for detection.

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that is present in half the world’s population. H. pylori infection has a known association with peptic ulcer disease (duodenal and gastric) and chronic active gastritis. The most likely route of infection is either oral-to-oral contact or fecal-to-oral contact. The H. pylori stool antigen test uses enzyme immunoassay to detect antigen proteins in the patient’s stool sample. The results of this test are reported as H. pylori antigen detected, not detected, or indeterminate. The presence of H. pylori is indicated as a positive result (antigen detected). A negative result (antigen not detected) typically indicates the absence of H. pylori, or possibly, an antigenic level below the immunoassay detection limit.

If your patient has initiated ulcer therapy during the two-week period leading up to specimen collection, a false-negative result is possible. If that occurs, the patient should wait until two weeks after the treatment is completed to have the test redone on a new specimen. If an indeterminate result is reported, retesting with a new specimen will also be required.

The patient must obtain a collection container and provide a stool sample at any of LifeLabs Patient Service Centres. Patients must present a requisition form signed by a physician or healthcare provider.

Cost in Ontario.

The H. pylori stool antigen test is currently an uninsured test in Ontario.

The cost is: $180 

Payment may be made by the patient when dropping off the stool sample at one of LifeLabs Patient Service Centres. For convenience, Visa, Mastercard and Debit Cards are accepted.

Patients are encouraged to check with their private healthcare insurer to see if coverage is provided.

Cost in British Columbia.

This test is covered under the Medical Services Plan (MSP) in British Columbia

Results will be available to you within 8 days.

We have a wealth of medical experts available to support you in interpreting test results.

Consults with our experts are available upon request. 

    Request more information

    Patients do not need to schedule an appointment time for an H. pylori stool antigen test, they simply need to drop off a stool sample as per the instructions, along with a completed requisition from their healthcare provider. Samples not accompanied by a requisition will not be accepted.

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