Peptic Ulcers in Utah
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What are peptic ulcers?
Peptic ulcers are open sores that commonly occur in the stomach (where they're called gastric ulcers) or the upper small intestine (duodenal ulcers), often leading to pain, bleeding, and other discomfort. The cells that comprise the stomach lining are covered by a layer of mucus that helps protect the stomach against damage. If this protective component within the small bowel or stomach is damaged, then the acid from the stomach leads to erosion of the tissue that sits behind the protective lining.
Although anybody can have peptic ulcers, some may carry an elevated risk if they are 50 or older or if peptic ulcers run in their family. The gastroenterologists at Utah Gastroenterology offer experienced care for this type of health concern. If you are seeking treatment for peptic ulcers in Utah, please contact our office today to arrange a consultation.
What are the causes of peptic ulcers?
A peptic ulcer can occur when the tissues of the small intestine or stomach are allowed to come into contact with stomach acid (also known as pepsin). Pepsin then erodes the organ's tissue. There are two main reasons, however, to explain why erosion of the stomach lining occurs.
Helicobacter pylori, often called H. pylori, is a bacteria that may enter your body in a number of routes. But when the bacteria enters, it can attack the protective mucus lining of the stomach. This creates openings in that lining which can create ulcerations. If helicobacter pylori is detected, your provider could recommend antibiotics to help destroy the destructive bacteria.
Certain types of pain relievers, such as aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), can block your body from generating a chemical that works to help protect the inner walls of your stomach and small bowel.
Other forms of pain relievers, like Tylenol (acetaminophen), will not lead to the development of small intestine and stomach ulcers. That is why doctors recommend taking pain medication in small and controlled dosages.
Risk factors for peptic ulcers
Other risk factors for gastric or duodenal ulcers are as follows:
- Tobacco use
- Eating acidic and spicy foods
- Drinking alcohol
- Regular use of NSAID pain medication
Our Utah gastroenterologists are trained to identify the signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers and help discern what might be the cause of the gastrointestinal condition.
What are common symptoms of peptic ulcers?
Patients with peptic ulcers commonly report feeling a burning sensation and discomfort due to the stomach acid causing irritation. Other commonly experienced symptoms of peptic ulcers can include:
- Decreased appetite
- Intolerance to fatty food
- Unwanted weight loss
- Feeling bloated
- Blood in the stool
- Heartburn and acid reflux
If your symptoms include vomiting or blood in your stool, call your doctor without delay. If you are affected by any combination of the above symptoms or use nonprescription antacids that minimize your pain, but the pain comes back, set up a visit with a GI physician at Utah Gastroenterology at your earliest convenience.
What are the treatments for peptic ulcers?
Peptic ulcers can be treated and may subside over time with the right therapy. Treatment options for peptic ulcers may include:
- Cytoprotective agents (medication to protect the lining of the stomach and small intestine)
- Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
- Reduce the use of specific pain medications
- Antibiotics to kill helicobacter pylori
- Acid-reducing medication (H-2 blockers)
- Endoscopic procedures to cauterize bleeding arteries
Find care for peptic ulcers
If you need a gastroenterologist who can offer treatment for peptic ulcers in Utah, our specialists are here to help. Reach out to Utah Gastroenterology to discover your options for care and how we go above and beyond to assist our patients. Arrange for a consultation today.
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