Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are open sores within the stomach or upper small intestine that allow acid to erode the tissues, causing discomfort, bleeding, and pain.

What are peptic ulcers?

Peptic ulcers are like open sores that can form in your stomach (gastric ulcer) or the upper part of your small intestine (duodenal ulcer). They can cause pain, discomfort, and even bleeding. The stomach lining is made up of cells that are protected by a layer of mucus. This mucus acts as a shield, preventing the stomach acid from damaging the tissues. However, if something happens to this protective layer, such as a breakdown or damage, the stomach acid can start eroding the underlying tissue.

While anyone can develop gastric ulcers, some people have a higher risk. This includes those with a family history of gastric ulcers or who are 50 years of age or older. Gastroenterologists are specialized doctors who provide care for this type of health issue. If you require treatment for peptic ulcers, please visit our website and contact a specialist to schedule a consultation.

What causes peptic ulcers?

A peptic ulcer happens when the tissue in the stomach or small intestine gets exposed to stomach acid, which can eat away at the tissue. There are two main reasons why the protective lining in the stomach can become eroded:

– Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori): It’s a type of bacteria that can attack the mucus lining of the stomach, creating holes and leading to ulcers. If you have H. pylori, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to help get rid of the bacteria.

– Pain relievers: Some pain relievers like aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can block a chemical that protects the inner walls of your stomach and small intestine. Using these medications for a long time or in high doses can increase the risk of ulcers. It’s important to use pain relievers carefully and as directed by your doctor.

There are also other factors that can increase the risk of developing peptic ulcers, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, experiencing high levels of stress, eating spicy or acidic foods, and regularly using NSAID painkillers.

Our experienced gastroenterologists can recognize the signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers and help determine the possible causes of the condition.

What are the symptoms of peptic ulcers?

When you have peptic ulcers, which are open sores in your stomach or small intestine, you might experience a burning pain and discomfort in your abdomen.

Some other symptoms of peptic ulcers include:

– Burping (releasing gas from your stomach through your mouth)
– Feeling bloated (a sensation of fullness in your abdomen)
– Seeing blood in your stool
– Vomiting
– Feeling nauseous (having the urge to vomit)
– Losing your appetite
– Unwanted weight loss
– Experiencing acid reflux and heartburn (a burning sensation in your chest)
– Having difficulty digesting fatty foods

If you notice blood in your stool or you vomit, it’s important to contact your doctor as soon as possible. Also, if you have a combination of the symptoms mentioned above or if you take over-the-counter antacids that temporarily relieve your pain but the pain comes back, it’s recommended to reach out to one of our specialists near you for further evaluation and assistance.

What are the treatments for peptic ulcers?

With the right care, peptic ulcers can be treated and can go away with time. There are several common treatments for peptic ulcers:

– Antibiotics: These medications are used to kill the H. pylori bacteria that can cause ulcers.
– Medications to reduce acid production (H-2 blockers): These drugs help decrease the amount of acid produced in your stomach, which can help heal the ulcers.
– Antacids: These medications work to neutralise the stomach acid and provide relief from the symptoms of peptic ulcers.
– Cytoprotective agents: These medications are designed to protect the lining of your stomach and small intestine, promoting healing and preventing further damage.
– Reducing the use of certain pain medications: If you’re taking pain relievers that can contribute to ulcers, your doctor may suggest reducing their use or finding alternative pain management methods.
– Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat severe or persistent ulcers that do not respond to other treatments.
– Endoscopy to cauterize bleeding arteries: If there is bleeding from the ulcers, an endoscopy procedure can be performed to identify the bleeding arteries and cauterize them to stop the bleeding.

These treatment options aim to reduce symptoms, promote healing, and prevent complications. Your doctor will work with you to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific situation.


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