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  • January 29, 2022

What Are the Signs of Peptic Ulcer Disease and How Do You Treat It?

Do you often feel a burning pain in your stomach?

While it could be nothing serious, this is one of the symptoms of peptic ulcer disease.

Peptic ulcer disease is very common in the United States, affecting more than 4 million Americans every year. According to estimates based on this data, about one out of every 10 people is diagnosed with a peptic ulcer at some point in his or her life.

While peptic ulcers aren’t the worst thing that can happen, they can become complicated and dangerous if left untreated. This is why it’s best to stay well-informed about them.

Here are some questions you can ask your doctor to help you determine whether you need treatment.

What Is Peptic Ulcer Disease?

Peptic ulcers disease is basically the development of open sores or ulcers on the lining of the stomach as well as the upper part of the small intestine. These sores can be very painful.

The sores usually develop when the thick mucus guarding the stomach lining is reduced. This allows the stomach acid and digestive juices to damage the tissue, causing painful sores.

Peptic ulcers can be caused by various factors, including H. pylori bacteria and certain pain relievers, including aspirin, prescription NSAIDs, and others. They can also rarely be caused by other infections, surgeries, steroids, or other medicines.

What Are the Common Symptoms to Look For?

A woman experiencing nausea

Peptic ulcers have several symptoms. Some are more obvious and common, while several others are very rare.

The most common symptom of peptic ulcers is burning pain in the stomach. This pain is usually worsened by stomach acid when you have an empty stomach. Acid-reducing medications can help it, but the effect is only temporary, and the pain worsens at night.

Other common symptoms include bloating, heartburn, nausea, and intolerance for fatty foods. There are also rare signs such as blood in one’s vomit or stool, troubled breathing, dizziness, nausea, weight loss, and significant appetite changes.

But it’s also important to note that several people with peptic ulcers disease have no signs at all.

How Are Peptic Ulcers Treated?

Regardless of symptoms, patients with peptic ulcers have to go through several tests before they can be diagnosed.

Doctors usually recommend lab tests to detect H. pylori. This is usually done through a breathing test. You may also be advised to have an endoscopy of your small intestine and stomach. This will let your doctor find the ulcers and send a sample for biopsy if needed. There are also X-rays that are referred to as “upper gastrointestinal series” that are used to detect ulcers.

Different diagnostic tests help doctors determine the reason for the peptic ulcers. This, in turn, helps them figure out your treatment options.

Standard treatment methods for peptic ulcers include antibiotics, PPIs to stop acid production and start healing, antacids that work as neutralizers for the stomach, and cytoprotective agents (medication) to protect the stomach’s lining.

If diagnosed early on, peptic ulcers are relatively easy to treat.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed in this article and think you might have peptic ulcers disease, get in touch with a gastroenterologist in Houston, Texas. You can find one near you on the TOPS Surgical Specialty Hospital website.

TOPS is one of the leading surgical specialty hospitals in Spring, Texas, and it specializes in areas like orthopedics, orthopedic spine, gastroenterology, breast cancer, and more.

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