Peptic Ulcers in Texas
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What are peptic ulcers?
A common digestive health concern, peptic ulcers are open sores or ulcerations located in the stomach (gastric ulcer) or upper small intestine (duodenal ulcer) that can result in discomfort, pain, and bleeding. The variation of cells that make up the stomach lining are covered by a layer of mucus that helps guard the stomach against damage. If the protective component within the stomach or small bowel is compromised, then the stomach acid erodes and damages the tissue behind the protective lining.
Though anybody can develop peptic ulcers, some patients may carry a higher risk if they are age 50 or older or if they have a family history of peptic ulcers. The gastroenterologists at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants offer specialized care for this type of medical issue. If you need treatment for peptic ulcers in Texas, please contact our practice to request a consultation at a location near you.
What are the causes of peptic ulcers?
As discussed above, a peptic ulcer occurs when the tissue in the stomach or small bowel is exposed to pepsin, or the substance commonly referred to as stomach acid. This acid then erodes the tissue within the organ. There are two main reasons why the erosion of the stomach lining takes place. Those are:
Helicobacter pylori, often simply referred to as H. pylori, is a variation of bacteria that may enter a person's system in a number of routes, but if it finds its way in, it can harm the protective mucus lining of the stomach. This causes holes in the lining which can lead to ulcers. If H. pylori are present, a doctor may recommend antibiotics to help destroy the destructive bacteria.
Some pain relievers, like aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can prohibit your body from making a chemical substance that helps protect the internal linings of your stomach and small bowel.
Other forms of pain medications, for example, acetaminophen (Tylenol®), will not lead to the rise of ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. This is among the reasons why healthcare providers advise taking pain relievers in controlled and small quantities.
Risk factors for peptic ulcers
Further factors that increase the risk of developing ulcers in the stomach or small bowel are as follows:
- Consuming foods that are acidic or spicy
- Drinking alcohol
- Regular use of NSAID pain medication
Our providers can recognize the signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers and help ascertain what might be the source of the gastrointestinal condition.
What are common symptoms of peptic ulcers?
Given that peptic ulcers are really open sores in the stomach or small bowel, individuals will commonly feel a burning pain and discomfort in the abdominal region when they have developed. Further signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers may include:
- Heartburn and acid reflux
- Bloody stool
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling bloated
- Fatty food intolerance
- Unintentional weight loss
In the event you have blood in your stool or if you vomit, it is important to call your provider as soon as possible. If you are affected by any combination of the symptoms mentioned above or use over-the-counter antacids that minimize your pain, but the pain comes back, request a consultation with a GI physician at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants at your earliest convenience.
What are the treatments for peptic ulcers?
With the proper medical care, peptic ulcers can be treated and can heal over time. Common treatments for peptic ulcers can include the following:
- Medications to reduce acid production (H-2 blockers)
- Cytoprotective agents (medication to protect the lining of the stomach and small intestine)
- Reduce the use of specific types of pain relievers
- Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
- Antibiotics to kill Helicobacter pylori
- Endoscopic procedures to cauterize bleeding arteries
Find care for peptic ulcers
Our GI specialists offer peptic ulcer treatment to Texas patients and want to help you live your life without discomfort or pain. Contact Texas Digestive Disease Consultants to explore your treatment options and learn how we can help you improve your quality of life. Request a consultation at your nearest Texas Digestive Disease Consultants location today.
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