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Peptic Ulcer


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 intestine. Esophageal ulcers are peptic ulcers in the esophagus. Peptic ulcers may be a short-term or long-term problem.

Digestive Tract


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.


You may need any of the following:

  • Antacids decrease stomach acid.
  • Antiulcer medicines help decrease the amount of acid made by the stomach. These help relieve pain and heal or prevent ulcers.
  • Antibiotics help kill bacteria.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • 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.