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Brochures and Helpful Information

Gastric Ulcer

Definitions

A gastric ulcer: Also called a stomach ulcer, is a raw area or open sore in the lining of the stomach.

Peptic Ulcer: An ulcer occurring in the end of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum.

Gastroenterologist: is a physician specialist trained in the study of the physiology and pathology of the stomach, intestines, esophagus, liver, gallbladder and pancreas.

What causes gastric ulcers?

The stomach lining has a protective layer of cells that
produce mucus. This mucus prevents acids and
digestive juices from injuring the stomach.

Gastric ulcers may develop from:

  • The presence of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the most common cause of stomach ulcers.
  • Decreased resistance to acid in the stomach lining.
  • Increased production of stomach acid.

Ulcers occur in the stomach or the duodenum or in both

Who gets Gastric Ulcers?

Gastric ulcers are more likely to occur in people
who:

  • Regularly take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
  • Drink alcohol.
  • Smoke tobacco.
  • Drink excessive amounts of caffeine (coffee, non-herbal tea, colas).
  • Frequently are stressed.
Gatric Ulcer
Gastric Ulcer

What are the symptoms?

  • Gnawing or burning abdominal pain, especially in the middle of the upper abdomen.
  • Pain that wakes you up in the night.
  • Heartburn.
  • Nausea.
  • Pain that may get better with food or antacids.

Complications:

If you have a bleeding ulcer you may:

  • Vomit bright red blood or digested blood that looks like brown coffee grounds.
  • Black, tarry bowel movements.

Ulcers may lead to bleeding or perforation

These are considered emergent situations. Please seek medical care immediately.

You may need hospitalization for bleeding ulcers.

How are ulcers diagnosed?

  • An upper Endoscopy (EGD) performed by your Gastroenterologist.
  • A biopsy to test for H. pylori taken during the EGD examination.
  • Blood test to look for H. pylori.

How is it treated?

The goals of treatment are pain relief, healing and the prevention of complications (bleeding).

Your Gastroenterologist may prescribe:

  • Medication to reduce your stomach acid.
  • Antibiotics to treat H. Pylori
  • Sucralfate (a medicine that forms a protective barrier over the ulcer site to enhance healing).
  • Reduce stress

 

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