Dyspepsia (indigestion) is a term which describes pain and sometimes other symptoms which come from your upper gut (the stomach, oesophagus or duodenum). There are various causes (described below). Treatment depends on the likely cause.
The germ (bacterium) H. pylori can infect the lining of the stomach and duodenum. It is one of the most common infections in the UK. More than a quarter of people in the UK become infected with H. pylori at some stage in their lives. Once you are infected, unless treated, the infection usually stays for the rest of your life.
Most people with H. pylori have no symptoms and do not know that they are infected. However, H. pylori is the most common cause of duodenal and stomach ulcers. About 3 in 20 people who are infected with H. pylori develop an ulcer. It is also thought to cause some cases of non-ulcer dyspepsia, duodenitis and gastritis. The exact way H. pylori causes problems in some infected people is not totally clear. In some people this bacterium causes inflammation in the lining of the stomach or duodenum. This causes the defence mucous barrier to be disrupted in some way (and in some cases the amount of acid to be increased) which seems to allow the acid to cause inflammation and ulcers. See separate leaflet called Helicobacter Pylori and Stomach Pain for more detail.