An ulcer—also known as a peptic ulcer—is an open sore inside the body that forms in the lining of the stomach, the upper section of the small intestine (duodenum) or the tube that passes food from the mouth to the stomach (esophagus). Ulcers occur when a mucous membrane within the lining doesn’t heal after digestive acid has eaten away at it.
There are three types of ulcers:
Ulcers are typically the result of an Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infection that creates inflammation in the lining, resulting in open sores. Constant use of over-the-counter pain medications (e.g., Advil®, aspirin, Aleve®) may also result in an ulcer.
It should be noted that consuming spicy foods and stress do not cause ulcers. However, they may make ulcer symptoms worse.
While the majority of patients do not show any symptoms of ulcers, those who do may experience:
More severe symptoms may include:
Following a physical exam and an exploration of medical history, a physician may recommend diagnostic tests, such as a/an:
Depending upon the cause, treatments may include:
When ulcers fail to heal following initial treatment, they are referred to as refractory ulcers. Refractory ulcers may be the result of:
Treatment for refractory ulcers includes lifestyle change and/or change in antibiotics.
If you suspect that you may have an ulcer, please schedule an appointment at Digestive Healthcare Center today. Our physicians will investigate your symptoms and determine the best treatment path to provide you relief. We will make sure that you fully understand any decisions made for your health, and that all of your questions are answered. To learn more about the wide range of tests and procedures we offer or to make an appointment, please contact us today.
At Digestive Healthcare Center, we are proud to see patients at our three offices in Somerset County, as well as from the comfort of your home via virtual telemedicine visits. Patients in New Jersey have convenient access to our comprehensive care so they can stay on top of their digestive health.