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- Patient Comments: Peptic (Stomach) Ulcer - Symptoms
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- Patient Comments: Peptic (Stomach) Ulcer - Causes
- Patient Comments: Peptic (Stomach) Ulcer - Complications
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- Peptic ulcer (stomach, duodenum) definition and facts
- What is a peptic ulcer?
- What are the signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers?
- What causes peptic ulcers?
- What does a stomach ulcer look like?
- Which specialties of doctors treat peptic ulcers?
- How are peptic ulcers diagnosed?
- Is there a special diet for peptic ulcer disease?
- What is the treatment for peptic ulcers?
- H2 blockers
- Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs)
- H. pylori treatment
- What are the complications of peptic ulcers?
- What is the prognosis for a person with peptic ulcer disease?
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Which specialties of doctors treat peptic ulcers?
Doctors who commonly treat peptic ulcer disease include primary care providers, such as general medicine physicians, family medicine doctors, and internists. Specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of peptic ulcer disease are gastroenterologists.
How are peptic ulcers diagnosed?
The diagnosis of an ulcer is made by either a barium upper gastrointestinal X-ray (upper GI series) or an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (EGD or esophagogastroduodenoscopy). The barium upper gastrointestinal (GI) X-ray is easy to perform and involves no risk (other than exposure to radiation) or discomfort. Barium is a chalky substance that is swallowed. It is visible on X- rays, and allows the outline of the stomach to be seen on X-rays; however, barium X-rays are less accurate and may miss ulcers up to 20% of the time.
An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is more accurate than X-rays, but usually involves sedation of the patient and the insertion of a flexible tube through the mouth to inspect the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Upper endoscopy has the added advantage of having the capability of removing small tissue samples (biopsies) to test for H. pylori infection. Biopsies are also examined under a microscope to exclude a cancerous ulcer. While virtually all duodenal ulcers are benign, gastric ulcers can occasionally be cancerous. Therefore, biopsies often are performed on gastric ulcers to exclude cancer.