Peptic Ulcer Disease Specialist Q&A
Our team of healthcare professionals at Diamond Gastroenterology is here to help treat peptic ulcer disease. Call us today or visit us online to book an appointment. We serve patients from Oak Park, IL and surrounding areas.
Table of Contents:
Peptic ulcers affect the stomach and upper section of the small intestine. They are open sores that have developed along the inside of the stomach lining and cause stomach pain for people who have them. Peptic ulcers are broken down into two different types, based on what part of the body they form in. When they form on the inside of the stomach, ulcers are referred to as gastric ulcers. The ulcers that form on the inside of the small intestine, specifically in the upper portion, are referred to as duodenal ulcers. Contrary to popular opinion, spicy foods and stress do not cause peptic ulcers but they can aggravate symptoms, making them worse.
Peptic ulcers are the result of acid in the digestive tract that breaks through the inner lining of the stomach or small intestine, leaving a painful open sore. This is due to either a higher amount of acid in the lining or a decrease in the mucus that forms the lining to protect the stomach. The common causes of this are an infection of bacterium Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori for short, and prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, called NSAIDs, which includes ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.
Peptic ulcers are treatable, with the treatment method being dependent on the reason or cause for the formation of the ulcer. For ulcers caused by H. pylori bacteria, as diagnosed from laboratory testing, treatment will consist of antibiotic medication in order to kill the bacteria and additional medications to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. The exact medication combination will vary based on where the patient lives, any medication allergies or sensitivities, and the severity of the ulcers.
Additional medication can also be taken that promotes healing in order to help the stomach lining to heal that will also reduce stomach acid. For people suffering from peptic ulcers as the result of the use of NSAIDs, a reduction in the use of the medications will help, if the patient is able to cut back. There are also medications available to reduce acid production, protect the stomach and small intestine lining, and antacids that can neutralize stomach acid.
In many cases, people with peptic ulcers don’t experience any symptoms. For those who do experience symptoms, peptic ulcers are most commonly identified by the stomach pain that they cause. As peptic ulcers affect the lining of the stomach, the pain can be more pronounced when the stomach is empty, often between meals, several hours after a meal, and at night.
Additional symptoms of peptic ulcers can include frequent burping, feeling full, bloating, heartburn, nausea, and intolerance to fatty foods. Early warning signs of an ulcer can include these symptoms, as well as a dull pain in the abdomen, lack of appetite, and loss of weight. While peptic ulcers cause stomach pain, the pain can fluctuate based on what you eat, any medications you are on, stress, and how empty or full your stomach is.
Peptic ulcers will vary from one person to the next, and also depending on if the ulcer is in the stomach lining or the small intestine. The most common feeling sufferers will experience with a peptic ulcer is a burning sensation in the stomach, due to the open sores that the ulcer causes in the stomach lining. The stomach pain can get worse when the stomach is empty, or when eating certain foods or taking medications that cause an increase in stomach acid.
Some foods can help to alleviate the pain by acting as a buffer against stomach acid. Acid-reducing medications can also help to reduce pain symptoms; however, they will come back as the stomach empties and the acid ratio increases. If you are experiencing stomach pain that doesn’t seem to go away or is aggravated when you’re hungry, you may have a peptic ulcer.
Treatment is available and the team at Diamond Gastroenterology can provide a proper diagnosis for your stomach pain and get you on a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms. Call us to book an appointment. We serve patients from Oak Park IL, River Forest IL, Cicero IL, River Grove IL, Forest Park IL, Berwyn IL, Melrose Park IL and Broadview IL.