What is it?
A peptic ulcer is an open sore in the stomach or duodenum (dew-o-d-num). The duodenum is part of the intestine. Gastric ulcers are peptic ulcers in the stomach. Duodenal ulcers are peptic ulcers in the intestine. Peptic ulcers may be a short or long-term problem. Most ulcers heal with treatment but it is possible for the ulcer to return.
Most peptic ulcers are caused by a stomach bacteria. Helicobacter (hee-li-ko-bak-ter) Pylori (pi-lor-ee) or H. Pylori is a bacteria or germ that causes infection (in-fek-shun) in the stomach and intestine. Stress or certain medicines may also cause peptic ulcers. Other causes may be smoking or drinking too much alcohol.
Signs and Symptoms:
The most common sign is burning pain in your upper abdomen (belly) pain. But you may have pain below your breastbone. The pain is caused by stomach acid touching your ulcer. This pain may come and go. The pain may wake you up from sleep. Other signs may be burping, nausea (upset stomach), or vomiting (throwing up). Ulcers may cause bleeding. You may see bright red or dark black blood in your BM. If you vomit, you may see bright red blood or partially digested blood that looks like coffee grounds.
Do not smoke as it may prevent ulcer healing. Alcohol may increase your abdominal pain. Acetaminophen, an over-the-counter medicine, may be used for pain. Do not use aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medicine.
Medicine, such as antibiotics, may be used to treat your peptic ulcer. Other tests may be done if your ulcer begins to bleed. Surgery is sometimes needed to treat peptic ulcers.
Herbs and Supplements:
Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.
Do's and Don'ts:
Do not take aspirin, smoke, or drink alcohol. It is OK to take acetaminophen for pain. But do not take any other pain medicine unless your caregivers says it is OK.
Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.
Talk to your caregiver if:
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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Last Updated: 6/13/2013
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