peptic ulcer disease

overview

If you have regular burning pain in your stomach area that never seems to go away, you could be suffering from a peptic ulcer. A peptic ulcer is a sore that forms when stomach acids eat away the inside lining of the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach (esophagus), the stomach itself or the top part of the small intestine. The digestive tract has a layer of mucous that protects it from acids, but if the layer is worn away or if there is too much acid, an ulcer can develop.

symptoms

The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is burning pain, which happens when the ulcer is irritated by stomach acid. The pain can occur from the belly button to the breastbone, and usually feels worse at night and when you’re hungry. More severe symptoms include unexplained weight loss; nausea; vomiting or vomiting blood; dark blood in the stool; or black, tarry stool.

diagnosis

First, you’ll meet with your doctor for a physical exam. You’ll talk about your symptoms and your doctor may order tests, such as:

  • Blood, stool or breath tests to check for H. pylori bacteria
  • X-ray 
  • Endoscopy: A flexible tube equipped with a light and tiny camera is inserted down the throat to see inside the esophagus and stomach. If needed, your doctor can get a tissue sample (biopsy) during an endoscopy.

services & treatment

If you have a peptic ulcer, your Aurora care team will work with you to determine the best course of treatment, which may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Medications called cytoprotective agents 
  • Antacids 
  • H-2 receptor blockers 
  • Proton pump inhibitors

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