Each year, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. develop a sore in the lining of their stomach or small intestine. These sores are called peptic ulcers. While they can be painful, they also are highly treatable.
Peptic ulcers: what you should know
- Some people think of peptic ulcers as stomach ulcers, but they can also develop in the small intestine and, rarely, in the esophagus.
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) stomach infections cause most peptic ulcers. You can get infected with H. pylori bacteria from contact with someone who has it or from contaminated food or water.
- H. pylori infection is common. About two-thirds of people in the world have it. Most of them, though, do not have ulcers or any other symptoms.
- The second most common cause of peptic ulcers is overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
How can I get help for a peptic ulcer?
These are the most common symptoms of peptic ulcers:
- Abdominal pain that is dull or burning and comes and goes over a period of several days or weeks
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor appetite and unintended weight loss
But having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have peptic ulcers. Many other conditions have similar symptoms.
If you have any of these symptoms and it doesn’t go away, call your doctor. Whatever your problem, doctors at Rush can help you find its cause.
Care for peptic ulcers at Rush
If your doctor finds that you have a peptic ulcer, your treatment might include medicines that decrease the amount of acid in your stomach. Your doctor might also recommend that you stop taking medications that can cause gastritis.