Peptic Ulcers in Arizona
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What is a peptic ulcer?
A common GI condition, peptic ulcers are open sores that develop in the stomach (called a gastric ulcer) or upper small intestine (duodenal ulcer) that often cause pain, bleeding, and discomfort. The variation of cells that comprise the stomach lining are surrounded by a mucus layer that helps minimizes the risk of stomach damage. When the protective component within the stomach or small bowel becomes compromised, the acid from the stomach erodes the tissue that sits behind the protective structure.
Although anyone can have peptic ulcers, some may carry an increased risk if they are 50 or older or peptic ulcers run in their family. The digestive health specialists at Arizona Digestive Health offer skilled care for this type of health concern. If you require treatment for peptic ulcers in Phoenix, AZ, please reach out to our office right away to request a visit.
What are the causes of peptic ulcers?
As explained above, a peptic ulcer develops 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 begins to damage the tissue within the organ. There are two main reasons, however, for why erosion of the stomach lining occurs.
Helicobacter pylori, commonly called H. pylori, is a bacteria that may enter your body in a variety of ways, but if the bacteria enters, it can damage the protective mucus layer in the stomach. This leads to holes in that protective lining and can cause ulcerations. When helicobacter pylori is detected, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help get rid of the harmful bacteria.
Specific pain relievers, such as aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), can block your body from producing a chemical that functions to help protect the inner linings of your stomach and small bowel.
Other variations of pain medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), do not cause the rise of small intestine and stomach ulcers. This is one of the reasons why healthcare providers advise taking pain medication in controlled and small dosages.
Risk factors for peptic ulcers
Additional factors that increase the risk of ulcers in the stomach or small intestine are as follows:
- Eating spicy and acidic foods
- Alcohol use
- Tobacco use
- Regular use of NSAID pain relievers
Our Phoenix, AZ gastroenterologists are trained to identify the signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers and help ascertain factors that might be causing the GI condition.
What are common symptoms of peptic ulcers?
Given that peptic ulcers are largely open sores in the stomach or small intestine, patients frequently have burning pain and discomfort in the abdominal area when they have developed. Additional symptoms of peptic ulcers may include:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Blood in the stool
- Loss of appetite
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Fatty food intolerance
Should you have bloody stool or if you vomit, it is important to get in touch with your provider promptly. If you experience any combination of the symptoms mentioned above or take nonprescription antacids that reduce your discomfort, but the discomfort returns, request an appointment with a gastroenterology specialist at Arizona Digestive Health as soon as possible.
What are the treatment options for peptic ulcers?
With proper care, peptic ulcers can be treated and can heal over time. Common treatments for peptic ulcers can include:
- Acid-reducing medication (H-2 blockers)
- Antibiotics to kill H. pylori
- Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
- Cytoprotective agents (medication to protect the lining of the small intestine and stomach)
- Endoscopic procedures to cauterize bleeding arteries
- Reduce the use of specific types of pain relievers
Get care for peptic ulcers
Our gastrointestinal physicians provide peptic ulcer treatment to Phoenix, AZ patients and aim to help you enjoy your life without discomfort. Please call Arizona Digestive Health to explore your options for care and how we go above and beyond to assist our patients. Request a consultation today.
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