Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.
Traditionally, ulcers, or sores in the lining of your digestive tract, were thought to be caused by too much spicy food, stress, or an anxious personality. We now know that most ulcers are probably due to infection with bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori.
H. pylori invade and disturb the lining of digestive tract. Acid may weaken the area, causing an ulcer.
COMMON ULCER SYMPTOMS
Burning, cramping, or hungerlike pain in the stomach area, often one to three hours after a meal or in the middle of the night
Pain that gets better or worse with eating
Nausea or vomiting
Black, tarry, or bloody stools (which means the ulcer is bleeding)
Or you may have no symptoms.
An ulcer can form in two areas of the digestive tract, the stomach and the duodenum (where the stomach meets the small intestine).
An evaluation by your doctor can show if you have an ulcer and determine whether it was caused by H. pylori. Your doctor may ask you questions, examine you, and possibly do some tests. These may include:
A special x-ray called a barium upper gastrointestinal series, to help locate an ulcer. During the test, you drink a chalky liquid. This liquid helps the ulcer show up on the x-ray.
An endoscopic exam, done with a long tube passed through your mouth into your stomach, to give the doctor a closer look at your ulcer. Your doctor can also take a tissue sample to test for H. pylori.
Blood and breath tests are also available to show whether you have H. pylori in your digestive tract.
To kill H. pylori so your ulcer can heal, your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics. Other ulcer medications may be prescribed as well. Usually, killing H. pylori will keep the ulcer from returning.
Discover leading-edge gastroenterology care. Call Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County at 949.612.9090 or simply use the Request an Appointment form.