What Ulcer Treatments Are Available
If your ulcer is bleeding, your doctor may treat it during an endoscopy procedure by injecting medications into it. Your doctor could also use a clamp or cauterization to seal it off and stop the bleeding.
For most people, doctors treat ulcers with medications, including:
- Proton pump inhibitors : These drugs reduce acid, which allows the ulcer to heal. PPIs include Prilosec®, Prevacid®, Aciphex®, Protonix® and Nexium®.
- Histamine receptor blockers : These drugs also reduce acid production and include Tagamet®, Pepcid®, Zantac® and Axid®.
- Antibiotics: These medications kill bacteria. Doctors use them to treat H. pylori.
- Protective medications: Like a liquid bandage, these medications cover the ulcer in a protective layer to prevent further damage from digestive acids and enzymes. Doctors commonly recommend Carafate® or Pepto-Bismol®.
When To See The Doctor
Peptic ulcers will get worse if theyre not treated, so contact your doctor if you have symptoms or any signs that you could have one. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the way people find out they have an ulcer is by developing bleedstheyre taking a lot of aspirin or NSAIDS and they either start vomiting blood or have black tarry stool, says Marcus.
Your doctor may be able to diagnose a peptic ulcer by talking with you about your symptoms. Be sure to disclose the frequency of NSAID use.
However, some tests are usually used to confirm the diagnosis. For instance, to see if you have an H. pylori infection, your doctor will test your blood, breath or stool. They may also look inside your stomach and duodenum by doing an endoscopy or X-ray. An endoscopy is a procedure where a lighted tube is inserted through the throat and into the stomach to check for abnormalities.
Diagnosis Of Peptic Ulcers
Your GP will want to find out if youve got a peptic ulcer and whats causing it, as this will help them decide on the right treatment. Treating your ulcer as soon as possible will reduce the risk of complications.
Your GP will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They may also feel your abdomen, to check for tenderness or pain.
Your GP will want to find out if your ulcer is caused by H. pylori or by taking NSAIDs. You should tell the doctor if youve been taking over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen regularly.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Peptic Ulcer
Youâll most likely feel a burning pain or discomfort between your belly button and breastbone. You might especially notice it on an empty stomach — such as between meals or at night. The pain may stop for a little while if you eat or take an antacid, but then return. The pain can last for a few minutes or a few hours, and may come and go for many days or weeks.
Other symptoms may include:
Small ulcers may not cause any symptoms. But if you notice any of these signs, talk to your doctor.
Nsaid Drugs And Stomach Ulcers
A group of painkillers known as NSAIDs carries a risk of stomach ulcers. The two best-known NSAIDs are aspirin and ibuprofen.
The risk of ulcers increases if the drugs are taken in high doses, or regularly for a long time.
Stronger NSAIDs, such as those that need a prescription, are riskier for stomach ulcers than those that can be bought over-the-counter .
People should always check labels and talk to a pharmacist or a doctor about any concerns with using painkillers. They may recommend an alternative such as acetaminophen.
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How To Treat A Bleeding Ulcer
This article was co-authored by Dale Prokupek, MD. Dale Prokupek, MD is a board-certified Internist and Gastroenterologist who runs a private practice based in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Prokupek is also a staff physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and an associate clinical professor of medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles . Dr. Prokupek has over 30 years of medical experience and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the liver, stomach, and colon, including chronic hepatitis C, colon cancer, hemorrhoids, anal condyloma, and digestive diseases related to chronic immune deficiency. He holds a BS in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin Madison and an MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He completed an internal medicine residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a gastroenterology fellowship at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 407,516 times.
Youre More Bloated Than Usual
If you notice your stomach feeling particularly bloated, it may be more serious than a little bit of gasit could be one of the signs of an ulcer. According to RM Healthy, bloating is often one of the earliest ulcer symptoms, with patients especially complaining of pain in their midsection. Of course, bloating can also be caused simply by eating something your body doesnt agree with or not drinking enough water, but when combined with these other symptoms, its worth checking out.
Dont miss these home remedies for bloating.
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What Treatments Are There For Ulcers
Your treatment will depend on the cause of your ulcer. For example, if our tests indicate that an infection caused by helicobacter pylori is what created your ulcer, well give you antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria.
Regardless of the cause, medications that help reduce the level of acid in your stomach can help the ulcer heal. And different lifestyle changes can accelerate healing as well, such as eliminating certain foods, abstaining from alcohol, and practicing stress management.
In severe cases, surgery may be required. Your provider at Prima Medicine will work with you to create a treatment plan for your situation.
If you have a stomach ulcer or want to see if you do, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.
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How Is An Ulcer Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. They may do an endoscopy. This procedure involves inserting a thin, flexible tube attached to a camera down your throat and into your stomach. Your doctor will test your blood, breath or stool for H. pylori. They also can test a sample of your stomach lining. Your doctor also will ask you if you regularly take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medicines.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Bleeding Ulcer
Bleeding ulcers dont always cause pain. Sometimes the first signs of a bleeding ulcer are signs of anemia. These include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
You might have a heavier bleed if you notice:
- Blood in your poop, or black poop that resembles tar.
- Bloody vomit.
These symptoms require urgent medical attention.
Record Of Constant Bleeding
Individuals may find themselves in situations of bleeding ulcers from time to time. If the victim suffers from the problem for a relatively long time, the ulcer is likely at its advanced stage.
When the ulcer is at a stage that is considerably advanced, the sufferer may experience repeated onsets of bleeding episodes that will manifest in different ways from one time to another.
There are many signs of a bleeding ulcer that can be identified through both observation, assessment, and laboratory tests appropriate for the verification of the signs and symptoms. This will bring finer details about the underlying condition in order to draw fitting conclusions.
- Stig Borbjerg Laursen . Risk Factors for Rebleeding in Peptic Ulcer Bleeding: A Second Look at Second-Look Endoscopy.
What Causes A Peptic Ulcer
Causes of peptic ulcers include
- long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- an infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori
- rare cancerous and noncancerous tumors in the stomach, duodenum, or pancreasknown as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Sometimes peptic ulcers are caused by both NSAIDs and H. pylori.
How Soon After Treatment Will I Feel Better
If you take all medicines as prescribed and avoid irritating the ulcer with NSAIDs, alcohol or smoking, your ulcer should heal well within a few weeks. Surgical cases may take a few weeks more. Your healthcare provider will follow up with you at the end of your course of medication to make sure the ulcer has healed and any infection has cleared. They will probably take follow-up tests, including an upper endoscopy to look at the site of the ulcer and tests for H. pylori, if you had it, to make sure the infection is gone.
Immediate Action Required: Immediate
Call your GP immediately or go to the emergency department if:
- you have symptoms of severe bleeding
In the hospital, a doctor will do an endoscopy to identify the cause of the bleeding. They can give you treatment during the endoscopy to stop the bleeding.
Your doctor may do a specialised procedure with x-ray guidance to stop a bleeding ulcer. In rare cases, you may need surgery to repair the affected blood vessel.
You may also need blood transfusions to replace the blood you have lost.
When To See A Doctor
Internal bleeding can be life-threatening and requires immediate action to prevent death or irreversible organ damage.
It is important to call 911 if you or someone you know shows signs of internal bleeding, including:
- Severe abdominal or chest pain
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Lightheadedness or fainting
- Changes in vision
- Changes in mental status
People should also be examined after any sort of trauma, including severe falls or blunt force injuries caused by car accidents or contact sports. These sometimes do not cause outward symptoms until later when the blood loss is severe.
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You Bleed When You Use The Bathroom
Blood coming from the gastrointestinal tract can signal a variety of underlying health issues, but Dr. Sengupta says when this bleeding is combined with upper abdominal pain, hes highly suspicious that its one of the signs of an ulcer. Many patients notice this blood either when vomiting, or when using the bathroom, as their stools may appear black. If you notice youre suffering from a bleeding GI tract, along with nausea and pain in the stomach or chest, Dr. Sengupta says doctors will often perform a blood test or an upper endoscopywhere they use a camera to look into the stomach itselfto check if an ulcer is the culprit. Blood in your stool can also be due to hemorrhoids or a symptom of colon cancer, so its a good idea to get checked out by your doctor.
What Are The Symptoms
- A burning, aching, or gnawing pain between the belly button and the breastbone. Some people also have back pain. The pain can last from a few minutes to a few hours and may come and go for weeks.
- Pain that usually goes away for a while after you take an antacid or acid reducer.
- Loss of appetite and weight loss.
- Bloating or nausea after eating.
- Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds.
- Passing black stools that look like tar, or stools that contain dark red blood.
Different people have different symptoms, and some people have no symptoms at all.
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You Have Pain Specifically In Your Upper Abdomen
One of the most common ulcer symptoms is a severe pain in the upper abdomen, according to Neil Sengupta, MD, a gastroenterology specialist at the University of Chicago. Ulcers can develop anywhere in the upper digestive track, but Dr. Sengupta says we often think about those occurring in the stomach or small intestine, where we feel pain. This pain usually occurs between the breastbone and belly button, and can bring on a burning, aching, or dull feeling. The sensation may begin as a light, mild pain but often progresses into something more serious as the ulcers develop.
Can Stomach Ulcers Just Go Away
Some ulcers follow a chronic pattern of healing temporarily on their own and then returning. This might happen if the factors contributing to your ulcer, such as NSAID use, smoking and alcohol, are temporarily reduced and then resumed. You wont completely heal your ulcer until you eliminate the cause, whether that is chronic NSAID use, H. pylori infection or an overactive stomach. Even after successful treatment, you can get another ulcer.
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Your Appetite Went Mia
For many patients with ulcers, the condition can actually result in a loss of appetite. This drop in food intake, combined with occasional vomiting, may lead to unexpected weight loss. Some ulcer patients report eating their normal amount of food, yet still lose weight, so the ulcer itself may cause a drop on the scale, too.
Can Straining Too Hard For A Bowel Movement Cause Rectal Bleeding
Straining too hard during a bowel movement can cause rectal bleeding. This is often related to constipation. When you strain, you can cause conditions like hemorrhoids or anal fissures. Very hard stool can actually cause the skin around your anus to tear, causing you to see blood. Treating constipation can help prevent this from happening.
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Treating Helicobacter Pylori Infection
If your stomach ulcer’s caused by a Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection, you’ll be given:
- a course of antibiotics
- a medication called a proton pump inhibitor
This is also recommended if it’s thought your stomach ulcer’s caused by a combination of an H. pylori infection and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
What Are Stomach Ulcers
There are two kinds of stomach ulcers: gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers. Gastric ulcers are sores on the lining of your stomach. Duodenal ulcers are sores on the upper section of your small intestine.
Your body creates a protective layer of mucus to shield the linings of your stomach and small intestine from the harsh stomach acid required to break down food. When the mucus layer is worn away or doesnt function properly, the acid begins to damage the lining of the stomach or small intestine, creating an ulcer. Many people believe spicy foods or stress cause ulcers, but while these can exacerbate existing ulcers, they dont actually cause them.
Ulcers are usually caused by an infection from a common bacteria called helicobacter pylori or from the habitual use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin. Other factors, such as being older than age 50, smoking, genetics, steroid use, and frequent alcohol use, can increase your risk of developing an ulcer.
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Suspect You Have A Bleeding Ulcer
Dont ignore these symptoms they could prove fatal.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a bleeding ulcer early can be a lifesaver. You may be completely unaware you even have an ulcer because you are not experiencing any ulcer-related pains. For most ulcer sufferers, this may seem like a painless and easy situation to be in. But in fact, it is a potentially lethal problem!
Learn how your own Blood becomes a dangerous painkiller..
When an ulcer starts bleeding, your blood neutralizes the stomach acid around the area of the ulcer, when this happens the neutralized stomach acid will not burn the raw areas around the ulcer. Basically, this means that you will not feel any pain. And, of course, this can present some serious problems.
If any of the following symptoms of a bleeding ulcer present themselves, we urge you to move swiftly towards getting treatment and make sure you tell your doctor about all the symptoms you have.
The symptoms of a bleeding ulcer
REMEMBER if you have been diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer or even if you have the slightest suspicion that you are bleeding from an ulcer, please do not hesitate to get emergency treatment away!
What causes ulcers to start bleeding?
As an ulcer grows it can start eroding into the muscles of the stomach or duodenal wall. On its path of destruction, blood vessels can be damaged with the result that they start bleeding.
Getting the right treatment
Endoscopy is currently the gold standard for treating bleeding ulcers.
How Is A Peptic Ulcer Treated
Some peptic ulcers heal on their own. But if you donât treat them, the ulcers tend to come back.
They can erode the blood vessel wall in your stomach or small intestine. The ulcers also can eat a hole through the lining and get infected. Or they can cause swelling, which may block food from moving from your stomach into your small intestine.
If H. pylori is the culprit, your doctor may prescribe a mix of antibiotics to kill it. If aspirin and other NSAIDs are behind the ulcer, you may need to cut down on them, stop taking them altogether, or switch to another pain reliever.
Your doctor may also give you antacids to fight stomach acid, or prescribe medicine to lessen the acid your body makes. Prescription drugs called cytoprotective agents can help protect the lining of the stomach or small intestine so the ulcer can heal.
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How Are Peptic Ulcers Treated
Most H. pylori-related ulcers can be cured. Treatment involves taking two kinds of antibiotics for 2 weeks and an acid suppressor for 2 months or longer. The ulcer may take 8 weeks to heal, but the pain usually goes away after a few days or a week.
A child with an H. pylori-related ulcer should take all the antibiotics as directed by the doctor. Even if the symptoms stop, the infection may not be gone until your child takes all the medicine. Also, be sure to give your child the prescribed acid-reducing medicine.
To be sure the treatment worked, doctors may order a stool test to see if the H. pylori bacteria are gone. If symptoms last or get worse, doctors might do a follow-up endoscopy in 6 to 12 months to check for H. pylori.
Ulcers from NSAID use rarely need surgery and usually get better with an acid suppressor and stopping or changing the NSAID. Because bacteria are not involved, antibiotics cant treat this type of ulcer. Kids who get a medicine-related ulcer should avoid NSAIDs and any medicines that contain ibuprofen or aspirin.
Unless a particular food is bothersome, most doctors don’t recommend diet changes for kids with ulcers. A good diet with a variety of foods is essential to all kids’ growth and development.