Peptic Ulcers in Washington
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What is a peptic ulcer?
A common gastrointestinal issue, peptic ulcers, also known as stomach ulcers, are open sores or ulcerations in the stomach (a gastric ulcer) or upper small intestine (referred to as a duodenal ulcer) that can result in discomfort, bleeding, and pain. The cells that comprise the stomach lining are encased in a layer of mucus that helps minimizes the risk of stomach damage. If the protective structure within the small bowel or stomach becomes compromised, the stomach acid can lead to the erosion of the tissue that sits behind the protective lining.
Although any individual can experience peptic ulcers, some individuals may have an elevated risk if they are 50 years old or older or have a family history of peptic ulcers. The GI providers at Washington Gastroenterology offer experienced care for this type of medical issue. If you need treatment for peptic ulcers in Washington, please contact our team today to request a consultation with a local GI provider in your community.
What are the causes of peptic ulcers?
As mentioned above, a peptic ulcer, or stomach ulcer, develops when the small intestine or stomach's organ tissue comes into contact with pepsin, which is stomach acid. This acid then begins to break down the tissue within the organ. However, there are two main reasons the stomach's protective lining erodes.
Helicobacter pylori, often referred to as H. pylori, is a variation of bacteria that may enter your body in several routes. If it enters, it can invade the mucus lining of the stomach. This produces holes in that protective layer and can lead to ulcerations. If helicobacter pylori is detected, a provider can recommend antibiotics to help destroy the harmful bacteria.
Specific pain relievers, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin, can keep your body from making a chemical substance that functions to help protect the inner walls of your small intestine and stomach.
Other variations of pain medications, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), do not contribute to the development of ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. As such, providers advise utilizing pain medication in controlled and small amounts.
Risk factors for peptic ulcers
Further factors that elevate the risk of peptic ulcers include:
- Tobacco use
- Drinking alcohol
- Regular use of NSAID pain relievers
- Consuming foods that are spicy or acidic
Our Washington gastroenterologists are trained to identify the indications of peptic ulcers and can help pinpoint what might be causing the gastrointestinal condition.
What are common symptoms of peptic ulcers?
Since peptic ulcers are largely open sores in the small intestine or stomach, patients frequently have discomfort and a burning sensation in the abdomen when they occur. Other symptoms of peptic ulcers can involve:
- Heartburn and acid reflux
- Unexplained weight loss
- Intolerance to fatty food
- Blood in the stool
- Decreased appetite
If you notice blood in your stool or are vomiting, contact your provider immediately. If you have any combination of the symptoms mentioned above or take nonprescription antacids that reduce your discomfort, but the pain comes back, request a consultation with a gastroenterology specialist at your local Washington Gastroenterology as soon as possible.
What are the treatments for peptic ulcers?
Peptic ulcers can be treated and healed over time. Options commonly used to treat stomach ulcers can involve:
- Acid-reducing medication (H-2 blockers)
- Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
- Decrease the use of specific types of pain medications
- Endoscopic procedures to cauterize bleeding arteries
- Cytoprotective agents (medication to protect the lining of the stomach and small intestine)
- Antibiotics to kill H. pylori
Get treatment for peptic ulcers
Our gastroenterologists provide peptic ulcer treatment to Washington patients and want to help you enjoy your life without discomfort. Contact Washington Gastroenterology to discover your treatment options and learn about the patient-centered care we provide. Request a consultation with a local gastroenterologist today.
Very encouraging and set obtained goals
They care about their patients. They really truly care.
Katy P. is my assigned nurse practitioner from a scar tissue epidemic, referred by Dr Leung from a roux-en-y surgery that was needing to be under a professional watch, due to flare-ups of ulcers. I moved here in 2017. She is the one and only person I can think of, who's a woman in the professional field, who has been with me since the beginning of losing my husband and moving here to be a caregiver to my mom. I have been very fortunate to be under her care. She is very thorough. And and very sympathetic to my fight for health and wellness of feeling better. I just hope she comes back after her maternity leave.
Nice Dr. to speak with