Peptic Ulcers in Connecticut
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What is a peptic ulcer?
Common among a wide variety of patients, peptic ulcers are open sores or ulcerations that develop in the stomach (referred to as a gastric ulcer) or upper small intestine (known as a duodenal ulcer) that can lead to bleeding, pain, and discomfort. The cells that comprise the stomach lining are encased in a mucus layer that helps minimizes the risk of stomach damage. If this protective lining within the small intestine or stomach becomes damaged, then the acid from the stomach damages the tissue behind the protective structure.
While anybody can have peptic ulcers, some may carry a higher risk if they have a family history of peptic ulcers or are 50 years or older. The digestive health providers at Connecticut GI offer experienced care for this type of health condition. If you need treatment for peptic ulcers in Connecticut, please contact a location in your community immediately to reserve a visit.
What causes peptic ulcers?
As explained above, a peptic ulcer occurs when the tissue in the stomach or small bowel is exposed to pepsin, which is the substance known as stomach acid. Pepsin then erodes the tissue within the organ. There are two primary reasons, however, behind why erosion of the stomach lining takes place.
Helicobacter pylori, often referred to as H. pylori, is a type of bacteria that may enter a person's system in several ways, but when it finds its way in, it can damage the mucus lining of the stomach. This causes openings in that protective lining which can cause ulcers. When Helicobacter pylori are detected, your practitioner could prescribe antibiotics to help get rid of the harmful bacteria.
Specific pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, can keep your body from producing a chemical that functions to help protect the internal walls of your small intestine and stomach.
Other types of pain medications, like acetaminophen (Tylenol), do not cause the formation of ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. This is one of the reasons why medical practitioners advise utilizing pain medication in small and controlled amounts.
Risk factors for peptic ulcers
Other factors that increase the risk of developing peptic ulcers include:
- Eating spicy and acidic foods
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- Regular use of NSAID painkillers
Our Connecticut gastroenterologists are trained to identify the signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers and help determine what might be causing the GI condition.
What are the common symptoms of peptic ulcers?
Since peptic ulcers are really open sores in the small bowel or stomach, patients often report discomfort and a burning sensation in the abdominal region when they occur. Other common signs of peptic ulcers include:
- Appetite loss
- Bloody stool
- Unintentional weight loss
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Intolerance to fatty food
In the event that you notice blood in your stool or are frequently vomiting, it is important to contact your provider immediately. If you experience any combination of the symptoms listed above or take nonprescription antacids that relieve your discomfort but the pain returns, arrange for a visit with a gastroenterologist at your nearest Connecticut GI location at your earliest convenience.
What are the treatments for peptic ulcers?
With proper care, peptic ulcers can be treated and can improve after some time. Treatments for peptic ulcers can include the following:
- Acid-reducing medication (H-2 blockers)
- Decrease the use of certain pain relievers
- Endoscopic procedures to cauterize bleeding arteries
- Antibiotics to kill Helicobacter pylori
- Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
- Cytoprotective agents (medication to protect the lining of the stomach and small intestine)
Prompt care for peptic ulcers
Our digestive health specialists provide peptic ulcer treatment to Connecticut patients and wish to help you enjoy your life without discomfort or pain. Contact a Connecticut GI near you to explore your options for treatment and how we can help improve your quality of life. Request an appointment at your earliest convenience!
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