FAQ About Peptic Ulcer

1. What is a peptic ulcer?

Peptic ulcer occurs when inside your stomach and duodenum increased levels of acid are produced. This acid causes an injury upon the stomach or duodenum lining, known as gastric ulcers or duodenum ulcers.

2. What are the causes of the peptic ulcer?

Peptic ulcer is mostly caused by a bacterium (H. Pylori) and by inadequate use of medication. For example, following a treatment with NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium) for a long time could increase the level of produced acid inside your stomach. H. Pylori bacterium weakens the natural barrier that protects the lining of your stomach against the acid’s action.

Smoking and drinking alcohol and coffee are also responsible for peptic ulcer. Stress is also a factor that contributes to the extent of ulcer, so you should avoid getting stressed.

Try to avoid the following aliments because they only injure your stomach line: pepper, chilly, peppermint, citrus fruits, cocoa, chocolate, cola, and fried fatty foods.

3. What are the symptoms of Peptic ulcer?

General symptoms of peptic ulcer are abdominal pain and burnings during the night, or two-three hours after eating. The pain can last for a few minutes or for some hours. Also, nausea, vomiting, belching loss of weight and indigestion might occur.

4. Does peptic ulcer have complications?

Left untreated, peptic ulcer can lead to an increased abdominal pain, vomiting blood and bloody or black stool. Perforation of the stomach could also occur and this is considered to be an emergency and the doctor must immediately be called.

5. How does the doctor diagnose peptic ulcer?

The doctor will ask you about your symptoms, will want to know for how long have you been having them, and will inquire about your lifestyle and diet. Some tests will be also performed like: a blood test, endoscopy and an upper gastrointestinal test with barium. This investigations will determine whether you have ulcer or not and if your ulcer is cause by H. Pylori.

6. What treatment will I get if I have peptic ulcer?

Treatment is adjusted to your age, your condition, the extent of the ulcer, and your compatibility with some drugs.

Your current doctor will prescribe some antacids, inhibitors of the proton pump (Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, and Pantoprazole), and H2-Receptor antagonists (Famotidine, Cimetidine, Nizatidine, and Ranitidine).

If your ulcer is caused by H. Pylori you will be prescribed some antibiotic drugs too.

Also, lifestyle changes are recommended. Smoking and drinking alcohol and coffee must be eliminated or at least reduced. Stress is also a factor that contributes to the extent of ulcer, so you should avoid getting stressed. Pay attention to the foods that cause you pain and burnings and try not to eat them any more.

There are some rare cases when treatment is not effective and other measures must be applied. Surgery is a solution for treating peptic ulcers but only the doctor will be able to pronounce whether you need a surgery or not.

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