Peptic Ulcers

What are Peptic Ulcers?

A peptic ulcer, sometimes called a gastric ulcer, is located in the gastrointestinal tract and is the cause of discomfort and pain for many individuals. Peptic ulcers develop as a result of an abnormality in the inner layer of the stomach, a part of the digestive tract known as the duodenum.

There are a variety of factors that increase your risk of developing peptic ulcers. Individuals that consume high levels of alcohol and regularly smoke cigarettes are at a heightened risk for developing ulcers, as are those with a history of frequent heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In addition, patients that have undergone radiation therapy for medical treatment or have used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin are more likely to develop peptic ulcers.

Symptoms of Peptic Ulcers

Symptoms and indicators of a peptic ulcer often vary greatly from person to person, but are likely to include:

• Abdominal pain

• Blood in stool

• Difficulty drinking fluids

• Constantly feeling full

• Difficulty swallowing

• Weight fluctuation

• Fatigue

• Soreness in the chest area

Treatment Options for Peptic Ulcers

If the peptic ulcer bleeds too much, your physician may harness metal fasteners to the ulcer and use an injectable medication in an effort to stop the bleeding. In situations where medical intervention and treatments do not work to stop the bleeding, then surgery may be required.

If you are experiencing the symptoms and indications of a peptic ulcer, then your physician will likely conduct an endoscopy exam to evaluate your gastrointestinal tract more closely. During the endoscopy exam your physician will direct a long flexible tube that is equipped with a small camera and light at one end through your digestive tract to view your stomach and small intestine.

Other exams that your physician may conduct include:

• A doctor may order an upper GI endoscopy exam together with a sequence of x-rays taken after drinking barium.

• A blood test and stool occult blood test to check for the presence of the H. pylori bacteria, which could cause peptic ulcers and can be treated with antibiotics.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of a peptic ulcer then it is crucial that you contact Dr. Bass immediately. Peptic ulcers require medical treatment and will not heal on their own over time. The only way to avoid complications from your peptic ulcer is to seek medical attention.

If you would like more information about peptic ulcers, please contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bass.