Peptic ulcers are sores that appear on the lining of the stomach or within a part of the small intestine or duodenum. They are caused by an imbalance of digestive fluids between the duodenum and the stomach. They can be painful but may or may not come with symptoms.
Signs of Peptic Ulcers
Talk to your gastroenterologist if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Patients may also notice a burning or gnawing pain in the upper or middle stomach between meals or during the night. Severe peptic ulcers can cause dark or black stool, weight loss, severe pain in the abdomen, and bloody vomit.
Peptic Ulcer Treatment
Treatment for peptic ulcers will vary from one patient to the next. The most common solutions include:
Your gastroenterologist may use antibiotics to kill H. pylori bacterium found in your digestive tract. This treatment usually lasts about two weeks.
- Acid-Blocking Medication
A proton pump inhibitor, or PPI, may be prescribed. This medication blocks acid production to allow your body to heal.
An antacid may be recommended as part of your treatment to help neutralize stomach acid. This easy remedy is ideal because it offers fast relief, although it does not heal the ulcers.
- Cytoprotective Agents
Cytoprotective agents are medications that protect the lining in your small intestine and stomach.
Peptic Ulcers Prevention & Your Diet
The best way to avoid developing peptic ulcers is through a healthy lifestyle. Avoid smoking and alcohol and never overuse NSAIDs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen. Research has also shown that a diet that is high in fiber can reduce the risk of peptic ulcers. Talk to your doctor about lifestyle and diet changes that can help you prevent peptic ulcer disease.