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Stomach ulcers, sometimes called gastric ulcers or peptic ulcers, are open sores in the lining of the stomach. Some people have no symptoms, while others can experience severe pain.
WakeMed’s gastroenterologists can help patients determine the cause of their ulcers, and get them back on track to a healthy, pain-free life.
While small ulcers may not cause any noticeable symptoms, larger ones can cause pain and discomfort.
Symptoms are often worse on an empty stomach and at night.
Risk factors also include smoking, excessive alcohol use and increased age.
Stress and spicy foods do not cause ulcers but they can exacerbate symptoms. Our nutrition counseling services can help patients make smart nutritional choices.
You should see a doctor if your symptoms aren’t resolving, or if over-the-counter antacids are only working temporarily.
When evaluating patients for stomach ulcers, our gastroenterologists start by taking a detailed patient history and a review of symptoms. Tests we may use to diagnose stomach ulcers include:
The goal of treatment is to heal the stomach lining. Some small ulcers will go away on their own, although they can come back.
Our gastroenterologists will first determine the cause of the ulcer. If it’s H. pylori, the usual course of treatment is antibiotics.
If the ulcer is caused by excessive use of aspirin and ibuprofen, the doctor will recommend the patient stop taking them, and find a new pain reliever. (Acetaminophen does not have the same impact on the stomach lining.)
The primary treatment of stomach ulcers is the proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications.
These medications reduce acid production so that the stomach lining can heal. Our gastroenterologists will prescribe the appropriate medication for the optimal duration, to ensure that ulcers heal completely.
If you or someone you care for suspects they might have a stomach ulcer, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of WakeMed’s experienced gastroenterologists.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610