Peptic ulcers are surprisingly common, affecting between 10 and 15% of the U.S. population. While many types of peptic ulcers resolve on their own or with a short course of medication, severe ulcers can lead to excessive bleeding and require immediate medical attention. Bharat Sanghavi, MD, Moushumi Sanghavi, MD, and Samantha Nazareth, MD, at Gastroenterology on Gramercy Park in New York City, can identify ulcers and determine appropriate treatment. If you think you’re suffering from a peptic ulcer, call or book an appointment online today.
Peptic ulcer disease refers to any condition that has caused a development of an ulceration or burn on your stomach or intestinal tract. These ulcers most commonly occur on the lining of your stomach or the upper portion of your intestinal tract.
The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is a burning sensation or pain in your stomach. This pain worsens when your stomach produces acid or when your stomach is empty. Other symptoms include:
In more severe cases, peptic ulcers can cause bleeding, which can be particularly noticeable in your vomit or stool. This can often be coupled with increased nausea and vomiting, feeling faint, a decrease in appetite, and unexplained weight changes. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical help.
Peptic ulcers develop when something diminishes the mucosal lining of your stomach, leaving it vulnerable to further damage. Thus, any condition that interferes with the natural production of mucus in your stomach can increase your risk of developing an ulcer. Some of the most common causes include:
Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that can cause ulcers. It can be diagnosed by a breath test, stool tests and via biopsies taken during endoscopy.
Regular usage of certain pain-relief drugs, particularly nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can irritate and inflame the lining of your stomach and upper intestinal tract. The risk is most common in older individuals using these drugs.
Taking certain combinations of medications can result in inflammation in your stomach lining.
Other risk factors that can increase your risk of developing peptic ulcers or make them worse include regular smoking or drinking alcohol.
Your doctor at Gastroenterology on Gramercy Park may prescribe one or more treatments, including:
If Helicobacter pylori bacteria are creating a problem in your intestine, you will benefit from antibiotics.
In many cases, your ulcer will need a reprieve from the natural acids produced in your stomach in order to heal properly. Your provider might prescribe a medication that either reduces or blocks the regular amount of acid your body produces.
Antacids are a popular treatment that can help neutralize stomach acid and provide pain relief. Other types of medications, such as sucralfate, can also help protect the tissues surrounding your stomach.
If you’re wrestling with a peptic ulcer, call Gastroenterology on Gramercy Park or schedule an appointment online today.