How Are Ulcers Treated
Three kinds of medicines can be used to treat ulcers. All of them do a good job of healing ulcers. Your doctor can tell you which one is right for you. You should take the medicine just as your doctor tells you to.
The first kind of medicine reduces the amount of acid your stomach makes. This medicine can heal an ulcer in the duodenum in six to eight weeks. Ulcers in the stomach take a little longer to heal. You take these medicines for eight to 12 weeks if you have a stomach ulcer.
A second kind of medicine blocks the stomach’s ability to make acid. This medicine helps heal an ulcer in the duodenum in four weeks. It helps heal stomach ulcers in six to eight weeks.
A third kind of medicine coats the ulcer. It protects the sore place from stomach acid, so it can heal. This kind of medicine takes eight to 12 weeks to heal an ulcer.
What Treatments Can Relieve Ulcer Pain
While over-the-counter medications can treat an upset stomach, they are generally not effective in treating ulcers. And taking over-the-counter painkillers could worsen the problem. That is why its better to see a doctor, who may combine several medications and therapies to relieve pain, cure the infection, and prevent it from worsening. Medications usually include:
Your doctor may also recommend making lifestyle modifications, including:
- Avoiding spicy and oily food
Peptic Ulcer Disease Treatment
Peptic ulcers are often caused by an overproduction of gastric acid. Many treatment options focus on reducing or suppressing gastric acid production. If your doctor determines that you have an H. pylori infection, you will need treatment for that as well.
The goal of treatment for peptic ulcer disease is to:
- Relieve symptoms
Treatments for peptic ulcer disease include:
Sometimes, treatment leads to complications.
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Triple Therapy To Eradicate H Pylori
Because no single antibiotic is effective against H. pylori, combination therapy is given. The first-choice treatment for eradicating H. pylori in Australia is called triple therapy, and includes:
- a proton pump inhibitor plus
- 2 antibiotics clarithromycin and amoxicillin.
These medicines need to be taken twice daily for 7 days.
Convenient combination packs containing all the medicines for the treatment are available .
It is vital that you follow the treatment exactly according to your doctors instructions the success rate is much lower if the tablets are not taken as directed.
Side effects commonly associated with triple therapy include nausea, diarrhoea and taste disturbance. Side effects are usually mild.
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.
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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 .
The Best Otc Drugs For Ulcers
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 10 out of every 100 Americans will suffer an ulcer in their lifetime 3. Many over-the-counter medications are available to relieve your pain and assist the healing process. Each medication has a separate function, though the drugs serve the same purpose: pain relief and acid digestion. You can choose from acid neutralizers, acid blockers and drugs that stop acid production altogether.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Surgery And Other Procedures
If bleeding from an ulcer does not stop with medication and supportive care , a physician called a gastroenterologist will perform an endoscopy. He first identifies the ulcer and the area that is bleeding, then injects medications to stop the bleeding and stimulate the formation of a blood clot. If the bleeding recurs or you have a perforated ulcer or an obstruction, surgery may be required. About 30% of people who come to the hospital with a bleeding ulcer need endoscopy or surgery.
Is Vinegar A Heartburn Cure
While vinegar is good for your mouth, its not good for your heart and gastrointestinal system. It can irritate the lining of your esophagus and stomach, leading to heartburn and other symptoms.
If youre having heartburn, drink a glass of water for your heartburn and vinegar for your ulcer. If youre having acid reflux, you can consume vinegar to help you swallow more of your food.
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Do The Medicines Cause Side Effects
Because you have to take so many medicines at the same time, you may have some side effects. Minor side effects of H. pylori medicines include a black color on your tongue, black stools, diarrhea, nausea, and headaches. Some of the medicines leave a bad taste in your mouth. These side effects are usually minor and go away on their own.
You can cure H. pylori infection only if you take the medicines just the way your doctor tells you. If you forget to take some of your medicines or stop taking them because of side effects, the infection will not be cured. You may get another ulcer in the future. Let your doctor know right away if you have side effects with your medicines or if you have any questions about how to take them. Your doctor may suggest something to make the side effects better, or may give you different medicines.
Why You Might Be Told To Drink Milk
For many years, people with peptic ulcers were told not only to drink milk but to drink lots of it. Physicians accepted the wisdom that milk would soothe the stomach and even help heal an ulcer.
Today, they know better. Milk might soothe an ulcer for a few minutes. But milk also stimulates your stomach to produce hydrochloric acid, which can make ulcers hurt more.
It explains why the dairy product is often seen encircled with a red strike going through it on the eating plans of ulcer patients.
If milk has become a regular part of your diet, and you hate the thought of giving it up, ask your healthcare provider about alternatives. Lactose-free or soy milk may be good substitutes that won’t irritate your ulcer.
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Is There A Peptic Ulcer Diet Plan
No particular diet is helpful for people with peptic ulcers. At one time, a bland diet and avoidance of spicy or greasy foods was recommended. Milk and dairy food have been used in the past for ulcer symptoms, but have not been proven to be effective. We now know diet has little effect on ulcers. In some people, however, certain foods seem to aggravate stomach ulcer symptoms. Keep a food diary with your intake and the resulting symptoms and avoid eating any foods that aggravate symptoms.
Getting The Right Diagnosis
The two main types of peptic ulcers are gastric ulcers, which form in the lining of the stomach, and duodenal ulcers, which occur at the top part of the small intestine, the duodenum, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.
Helicobacter pylori bacteria cause most of the ulcers affecting Americans, says Harvard Health Publishing. To a lesser extent, ulcers can be traced to the overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , including aspirin and ibuprofen. Both H. pylori and NSAIDs can erode the stomach lining or the duodenum, leaving them vulnerable to the stomach’s strong, corrosive acids, which then causes an ulcer to form.
Ulcers aren’t always obvious. In fact, most people who have ulcers experience no symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, a burning feeling in the abdomen is the most common sign noted.
To determine whether you have an ulcer, your doctor will order diagnostic tests. Laboratory tests can determine whether you have the H. pylori infection. The tests can be on your blood, stool or breath, according to Mayo. Sometimes an endoscopy, which uses a thin tube with a camera on the end, is needed to visualize the stomach lining or small intestine. If an ulcer is detected, small samples of tissue may be taken for further testing.
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Will Surgery Cure A Peptic Ulcer
Medical therapy works in most people with peptic ulcers. Sometimes, medical therapy does not work, or a person can’t take the therapy for some reason. Surgery is an alternative to medical therapy for these people.
Surgical operations often used in peptic ulcers include the following:
- Vagotomy: Cutting the vagus nerve, which transmits messages from the brain to the stomach, can reduce acid secretion. However, this can also interfere with other functions of the stomach. A newer operation cuts only the part of the nerve that affects acid secretion.
- Antrectomy: This is often done in conjunction with a vagotomy. It involves removing the lower part of the stomach . This part of the stomach produces a hormone that increases production of stomach acid. Adjacent parts of the stomach may also be removed.
- Pyloroplasty: This procedure also is sometimes done with vagotomy. It enlarges the opening between the stomach and duodenum to encourage passage of partially digested food. Once the food has passed, acid production normally stops.
- Tying off an artery: If bleeding is a problem, cutting off the blood supply to the ulcer can stop the bleeding.
Q: Can An Ulcer Be Completely Cured
A: If you have peptic ulcer disease, which can involve stomach ulcers and/or duodenal ulcers of the small intestine, the answer is yes! These ulcers can be completely healed.
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The development of H2 blockers and then Proton Pump Inhibitors allow for most ulcers to be completely healed with medication. With these treatment developments, surgery for peptic ulcer disease is seldom needed.
These types of ulcers are caused primarily by three things: Stomach acids, H. pylori infections and medications, such as aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen .
Contrary to popular belief, the normal stress of day-to-day life does not cause or contribute to ulcers. Also, theres no genetic link involved with the risk for developing ulcers, and diet has no effect on the healing of an ulcer either.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Stomach Ulcer
Symptoms vary from person to person, and some people may have no symptoms at all. Abdominal pain is common, and that associated with stomach ulcers tends to worsen after food. Other common symptoms include:
- Bloating or belching
- Weight loss.
Symptoms such as vomiting, severe pain or blood in the stools are rare with stomach ulcers and should be reported to your doctor.
Most ulcers occur in the first layer of the inner lining. A hole that goes all the way through is called a perforation and will cause severe pain and bleeding. It is a medical emergency.
Alternative And Complementary Therapies
Certain lifestyle changes can help you recover from an ulcer.
- Watch your diet. If you know that there are specific foods that make your ulcer feel worse, avoid them until your treatment is over. For many people, these include alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods, spicy foods, and chocolate.
- Stop smoking. If you smoke, you are already at increased risk of getting an ulcer. The data also shows that ulcers take longer to heal in smokers and that the ulcer medication you are taking may be less effective. Scientists don’t know exactly why smoking has these negative effects.
- Take pain medication carefully. NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and many other commonly taken drugs, are taken for pain and fever, but can cause an ulcer if used too often. NSAIDs can also prevent an ulcer from healing as quickly as you would like, so talk to your doctor about what you can take for your other aches and pains while you are waiting for your ulcer to heal. Acetaminophen does not cause ulcers, so it may be an effective substitute. Also, be sure to read all drug labels some cough and cold liquids have NSAID ingredients in them, and you should avoid them, too.
- Cut back on alcohol. Stop drinking alcohol if you want to completely reduce your risk of additional ulcers and help your body heal.
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Can Peptic Ulcers Be Prevented
Regular use of NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems and bleeding in some children. Acetaminophen does not cause stomach ulcers and is a good alternative to NSAIDs for most childhood conditions.
How Are Ulcers Diagnosed
Ulcers are diagnosed with a medical history, physical examination, and tests. Most ulcers will be diagnosed and treated by a general practitioner, but some cases may require a gastroenterologist, a doctor that specializes in the digestive system.
The medical history will help the doctor diagnose the condition and discover any complications or red flags. You should be ready to answer important questions, such as:
- Is your stool black or bloody?
- Are you throwing up?
- Is it difficult to swallow?
- Has any related family member had cancer in the digestive system?
- Do you use NSAIDs or anticoagulant medications?
The symptoms of peptic ulcers can include stomach pain, early feeling of fullness when eating, weight loss, and mild nausea. For a stomach ulcer, the pain increases two to three hours after a meal. The pain of a duodenal ulcer decreases after a meal, which can lead to weight gain in some people with duodenal ulcers.
Esophageal ulcer symptoms are different. They include pain when swallowing, heartburn, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, vomiting blood, and a feeling that food is getting stuck after swallowing.
All patients with stomach pain will be tested for H. pylori bacteria. A urea breath test is fast and accurate, but stool or urine tests may also be used.
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What Is The Best Medication For An Ulcer
Ulcers are primarily treated with medications that reduce stomach acid, but other medications such as antacids or pain relievers might be used, as well. However, if theres an underlying infection, that infection will need to be treated with antimicrobial medications as well. There is, then, no best medication for ulcers, only the best combination of medications for a particular situation.
|Best medications for ulcers|
|Analgesic||Oral||325 to 650 mg every four to six hours as needed. Maximum dose of 4,000 mg per day.||Nausea, stomach pain, headache|
The standard dosages above are from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration , the National Institute of Health , or off-label studies for the treatment of peptic ulcers. Dosage is determined by your doctor based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and weight. Other possible side effects exist. This is not a complete list.
How Do Pain Relief Drugs Work
In a certain way, all pain is in your head. When we feel pain, it’s the result of an electrical signal being sent from the nerves in a part of your body to your brain.
But the whole process isn’t electrical. When tissue is injured , the cells release certain chemicals in response. These chemicals cause inflammation and amplify the electrical signal coming from the nerves. As a result, they increase the pain you feel.
Painkillers work by blocking the effects of these pain chemicals. The problem is that you can’t focus most pain relievers specifically on your headache or bad back. Instead, it travels through your whole body. This can cause some unexpected side effects.
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What Happens After Treatment
A repeat gastroscopy is usually advised a few weeks after treatment has finished. This is mainly to check that the ulcer has healed. It is also to be doubly certain that the ‘ulcer’ was not due to stomach cancer. If your ulcer was caused by H. pylori then a test is advised to check that the H. pylori infection has gone. This is done at least four weeks after the course of combination therapy has finished.