Peptic ulcers are open sores in your duodenum (the top of your small intestine) or stomach (gastric ulcers). If you develop symptoms of a peptic ulcer, visit Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists in New York. At their offices in North Wantagh, South Wantagh, and Garden City, the fellowship-trained physicians use advanced endoscopic techniques to examine your digestive tract and seal bleeding ulcers. Call your nearest Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists office today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
An ulcer is a painful open sore that’s often difficult to heal. Gastric ulcers affect your stomach, while duodenal ulcers affect the duodenum — the upper part of your small intestine. They’re both types of peptic ulcers and cause similar symptoms, which include:
You might find that your symptoms are worse after eating high-fat foods.
Around 75% of people with peptic ulcers don’t experience any symptoms, or the ones they have aren’t bad enough to prompt a doctor’s visit.
Peptic ulcers develop when something interferes with your body’s natural protection from stomach acid. The acid in your stomach is extremely corrosive; it needs to be as it starts the digestive processes when you eat.
Your stomach and duodenum have linings coated with a thick layer of protective mucus, which prevents the acid from causing any damage. If the mucus gets too thin or your stomach acid levels increase significantly, acid starts damaging the unprotected tissues.
The most likely cause of a thinning mucus layer is a bacterial infection with helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Some medications increase your risk of developing peptic ulcers or make them worse if you take them regularly. These drugs include:
Before H. pylori infection was identified as the main cause of peptic ulcers, lifestyle factors like stress, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and spicy foods were blamed. While doctors now know that they don’t cause ulcers, these factors can make existing ulcers worse and affect tissue healing.
Your Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists provider determines the best treatment after doing tests to confirm you have peptic ulcers and where they are. This may involve having an upper endoscopy, where your provider puts a tiny camera in your stomach to examine the tissues.
If your ulcer is a side effect of the medications you take, you can resolve the problem by changing to different drugs. If you have an H. pylori infection, your provider prescribes a targeted course of antibiotics to destroy the bacteria.
You might need medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), acid blockers, or histamine (H2) blockers. These drugs stop your stomach from producing too much acid. Cytoprotective agents can also help by improving blood flow and stimulating mucus production in your stomach and duodenum.
For a bleeding ulcer, your provider can seal the wound during an endoscopy.
If you have symptoms that could be due to a peptic ulcer, visit Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists for a prompt diagnosis and effective treatment. Call or book an appointment online today.