menu mobile
Stomach & Intestine UlcersConditions

Peptic ulcers are sores that develop in the lining of the upper digestive tract, including the lower esophagus, stomach, and the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum). These ulcers are referred to as "peptic" because a digestive enzyme called pepsin contributes to their formation. These sores can lead to discomfort and potential complications, making it crucial to treat and prevent them.


The primary symptom of peptic ulcer disease is a burning pain in the upper abdomen. If the ulcer is in the stomach, the pain is usually relieved by eating. In the case of a duodenal ulcer, the pain tends to be worse after meals or at night. This pain can persist for days, weeks, or even months. It might range from mild to severe and could be constant or come and go. Occasionally, the pain can even radiate to one’s back.


When ulcers are suspected, diagnosis often involves an upper endoscopy, a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube equipped with a camera and light is used to examine the esophagus, stomach, and beginning of the small intestine. This procedure allows us to confirm the presence of ulcers and collect samples from the affected area for further testing. These samples help determine if there's an infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which is a very common cause of peptic ulcers, or any signs of cancer cells.


Treating peptic ulcers involves addressing the underlying cause. If an H. pylori infection is detected, antibiotics will be prescribed to eliminate the bacteria. Additionally, medications to regulate stomach acid production are usually recommended for about eight weeks. These medications, known as proton pump inhibitors, play a key role in promoting healing. For individuals who develop ulcers from using NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), discontinuing the medication or adjusting the dosage might be advised. In cases where NSAIDs are necessary for pain relief, daily antacid medication could be recommended to mitigate their impact on ulcer development. It's important to work closely with your doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific situation.