Peptic Ulcer

Also called: Duodenal ulcer, Gastric ulcer, Stomach ulcer, Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of your stomach or your duodenum, the first part of your small intestine. A burning stomach pain is the most common symptom. The pain

  • Starts between meals or during the night
  • Briefly stops if you eat or take antacids
  • Lasts for minutes to hours
  • Comes and goes for several days or weeks

Peptic ulcers happen when the acids that help you digest food damage the walls of the stomach or duodenum. The most common cause is infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Another cause is the long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Stress and spicy foods do not cause ulcers, but can make them worse.

To see if you have an H. pylori infection, your doctor will test your blood, breath, or stool. Your doctor also may look inside your stomach and duodenum by doing an endoscopy or x-ray.

Peptic ulcers will get worse if not treated. Treatment may include medicines to reduce stomach acids or antibiotics to kill H. pylori. Antacids and milk can't heal peptic ulcers. Not smoking and avoiding alcohol can help. You may need surgery if your ulcers don't heal.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Peptic Ulcer

The following features are indicative of Peptic Ulcer:
  • burning stomach pain
  • feeling of fullness, bloating
  • fatty food intolerance
  • heartburn
  • nausea
It is possible that Peptic Ulcer shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Peptic Ulcer

The following are the most common causes of Peptic Ulcer:
  • Helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • regular use of certain pain relievers

Risk Factors for Peptic Ulcer

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Peptic Ulcer:
  • smoking
  • untreated stress
  • alcohol consumption
  • eating spicy foods

Prevention of Peptic Ulcer

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Peptic Ulcer. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • protect yourself from infections
  • use caution with pain relievers

Occurrence of Peptic Ulcer

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Peptic Ulcer cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Peptic Ulcer can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Peptic Ulcer can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Peptic Ulcer

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Peptic Ulcer:
  • Physical Exam: To diagnose the peptic ulcer and detect bloating in your abdomen
  • Blood test: To determine if the results fall within the normal range for different disorders or infections
  • Urea breath test: To check the levels of carbon dioxide in your stomach or small intestine
  • Stool test: To detect the presence of Helicobacter pylori infection
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy and biopsy: To view inside your upper gastrointestinal tract
  • Upper gastrointestinal series: To view the shape of your upper gastrointestinal tract
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan: To diagnose the peptic ulcer

Doctor for Diagnosis of Peptic Ulcer

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Peptic Ulcer:
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Surgeon

Complications of Peptic Ulcer if untreated

Yes, Peptic Ulcer causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Peptic Ulcer is left untreated:
  • internal bleeding
  • infection
  • scarring

Procedures for Treatment of Peptic Ulcer

The following procedures are used to treat Peptic Ulcer:
  • Surgery: To treat the bleeding ulcers

Medicines for Peptic Ulcer

Below is the list of medicines used for Peptic Ulcer:

Self-care for Peptic Ulcer

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Peptic Ulcer:
  • Choose a healthy diet: Provides relief from the pain of a stomach ulcer
  • Control stress: Prevents the worsening the signs and symptoms of a peptic ulcer
  • Don't smoke: Lowers the stomach acid
  • Avoid alcohol: Prevents the inflammation and bleeding of the mucous lining in your stomach and intestines
  • Try to get enough sleep: Reduces the stress

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Peptic Ulcer

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Peptic Ulcer:
  • Using Botanicals: Turmeric, cabbage, mastic, neem bark extract and deglycyrrhizinated licorice prevent peptic ulcers

Patient Support for Treatment of Peptic Ulcer

The following actions may help Peptic Ulcer patients:
  • Join eradication programs: Helps in eradicating the Helicobacter pylori infection

Time for Treatment of Peptic Ulcer

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Peptic Ulcer to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Is Peptic Ulcer Infectious?

Yes, Peptic Ulcer is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • H. pylori infection transmitted from person to person by close contact, such as kissing
  • through food and water

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/11/2019.
This page provides information for Peptic Ulcer.
Helicobacter Pylori Infections
Stomach Disorders

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