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Peptic Ulcer Disease

What is Peptic Ulcer Disease
Peptic ulcer disease is common. It refers to open sores that develop in the gut lining of the stomach, upper small intestine or oesophagus. The sores develop when the acidic digestive juice secreted by the stomach cells corrode the lining of the organs.

The peptic ulcer is named accordingly to where in the body it occurs — gastric ulcer when it develops in stomach, duodenal ulcer when it develops in the first part of small intestines/duodenum and oesophagus ulcer when it develops at the lower section of oesophagus. Oesophagus ulcers are often associated with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Causes of the condition

‚ÄčThe patient’s stomach is infected by bacteria known as Heliocobacter pylori (H.pylori), regular use of pain reliever medications, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and stress.

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms may or may not be present. 

There may be burning pain or abdominal pain. This pain may:

  • Be felt anywhere from the navel up to the breastbone
  • Last from a few minutes to several hours
  • Be worse when your stomach is empty flare at night
  • Be temporarily relieved by eating certain foods that buffer stomach acid or by taking an acid-reducing medication
  • Disappear and then return after a few days or weeks
Symptoms that occur less often:
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Appetite changes
  • Vomiting of blood – appear red or black
Diagnosis and treatment options

‚ÄčTest and diagnosis

  • Blood test
  • Breathe test
  • Stool antigen test
  • Barium upper gastrointestinal (upper GI) X-ray
  • Upper endoscopy


Treatment follows a two-pronged approach:
  • Killing the bacteria and reducing the level of acid in your digestive system to relieve pain and encourage healing.
  • Taking medications: antibiotics, acid blockers, antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and cytoprotective agents
For more information on our services at the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, click here
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