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Peptic Ulcer

AMBULATORY CARE:

A peptic ulcer

is an open sore in the lining of your stomach, intestine, or esophagus. Peptic ulcers have different names, depending on their location. Gastric ulcers are peptic ulcers in the stomach. Duodenal ulcers are peptic ulcers in the small intestine. Esophageal ulcers are peptic ulcers in the esophagus. Peptic ulcers may be a short-term or long-term problem.

Digestive Tract

Common signs and symptoms of a peptic ulcer:

  • Burning or pain in your upper abdomen 1 to 3 hours after you eat or when your stomach is empty
  • Pain that is worse at night or that comes and goes for weeks
  • Pain that is worse or relieved when you eat or take antacid medicine
  • Nausea, vomiting, or burping
  • Red or black bowel movements from bleeding caused by the ulcer

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have a fast heartbeat or fast breathing.
  • You are too dizzy or weak to stand up.
  • You vomit bright red blood.
  • You have bright red blood in your bowel movement.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain in your stomach.
  • Your vomit looks like coffee grounds.
  • Your bowel movements are black.
  • You have sudden shortness of breath.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have diarrhea or constipation.
  • Your stomach pain does not go away or gets worse after you take medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may include any of the following:

  • Medicines that decrease the amount of acid made by your stomach may be given. You may also need medicines that protect your stomach lining from acid and antibiotics to treat H. pylori infection. Your healthcare provider may make changes to your current medicines any caused your ulcer. Do not make changes to your medicines without your provider's direction.
  • Surgery may be needed if other treatment does not heal your ulcer. Surgery on the nerves in your stomach may be done to help your stomach make less acid. Another type of surgery removes part of your stomach. Surgery may also be done to close an ulcer that has caused a perforation (tear) through your stomach or intestines.

Nutrition:

  • Do not have carbonated drinks, alcohol, or caffeine. Caffeine is found in some coffees, teas, and sodas. It is also found in chocolate.
  • Do not eat foods that upset your stomach. These include spicy or acidic foods, such as oranges.
  • Eat small meals more often rather than big meals less often. An empty stomach may make your symptoms worse.

Do not smoke:

Smoking increases your risk of developing ulcers. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can also cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.