Peptic ulcers can cause a variety of symptoms, and these vary from patient to patient. Some patients with ulcers have minimal, unusual, or even no symptoms at all. Others may have every symptom. This is why it is very important to consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
It is important to understand the causes of peptic ulcers. In the past, it was believed stress and diet caused peptic ulcers. Later, researchers stated stomach acids (hydrochloric acid and pepsin) contributed to the majority of ulcer formation. Today, however, research shows that most ulcers develop as a result of infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
Since most peptic ulcers are caused by H. pylori, your doctor will most likely confirm the presence of this bacteria before doing other diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests tests for peptic ulcers can also include doing an upper endoscopy or barium x-rays.
If testing shows peptic ulcers are caused by an H. pylori, and standard treatment in these cases is a combination of drugs, including antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor. If NSAIDS are the cause of your ulcer, you should stop taking these remedies. During the healing process for an NSAID-induced ulcer, your doctor may recommend the use of antacids to neutralize the acid, and H2-blockers or proton pump inhibitors to reduce stomach acid production. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, for your treatment.
Many people think ulcers are an "adult disease." However, childhood peptic ulcers can and do develop. Children develop both duodenal and stomach (gastric) ulcers, though gastric ulcers are more common in children. The ulcer's location will determine the treatment.
Share your experience: If you have a peptic ulcer, what symptoms led to your peptic ulcer diagnosis?