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Peptic Ulcer

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicine:

  • 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. These are given if your ulcer is caused by H. pylori.

Tests:

  • Blood tests may be done to test for H. pylori.
  • A urea breath test checks for H. pylori. You will drink a liquid that has a radioactive carbon. Thirty minutes after you drink the liquid, you will blow into a bag. The radioactive carbon will show if H. pylori is present.
  • An endoscopy uses a scope to see the inside of your digestive system. A scope is a long, bendable tube with a light on the end. A camera may be used with the scope to take pictures. During an endoscopy, healthcare providers may find problems with how your digestive system is working. Samples may be taken from your digestive system and sent to a lab for tests.
    Upper Endoscopy
  • An upper GI x-ray is a picture of your stomach and intestines. You may be given a chalky liquid to drink before the pictures are taken. This liquid helps your stomach and intestines show up better on the x-rays. An upper GI x-ray can show if you have an ulcer.

Surgery

may be needed if other treatments do 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 a part of your stomach. Surgery may also be done to close an ulcer that has caused a perforation.

RISKS:

Without treatment, you may have bleeding or develop a perforation (tear) in your stomach or intestines. These may cause an infection in your abdomen called peritonitis. You may develop a block in your digestive system. Your risk for stomach cancer is higher if the ulcer was caused by H. pylori. Even with treatment, you may develop other peptic ulcers.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.