Peptic Ulcers in Illinois
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What is a peptic ulcer?
A common GI condition, peptic ulcers are open sores or ulcerations that develop in the stomach (called a gastric ulcer) or upper small intestine (known as a duodenal ulcer) that often result in pain, bleeding, and discomfort. The cells that comprise the stomach lining are surrounded by a layer of mucus that helps guard the stomach against damage. When the protective structure within the small intestine or stomach is damaged, then the acid from the stomach causes erosion of the tissue found behind the protective wall.
Although anyone can develop peptic ulcers, some individuals may have a higher risk if peptic ulcers run in their family or they are age 50 or older. The providers at GI Alliance of Illinois offer skilled care for this type of concern. If you need treatment for peptic ulcers in Chicago, IL, Peoria, IL, or Bloomington, IL, please reach out to your nearest location to request a consultation.
What causes peptic ulcers?
IllinoisAs mentioned above, a peptic ulcer occurs when the tissue in the small intestine or stomach comes into contact with pepsin, which is the substance known as stomach acid. Pepsin then erodes the organ’s tissue. There are two primary reasons why the stomach's protective lining becomes eroded.
Helicobacter pylori, commonly known as H. pylori, is a variation of bacteria that might enter a person's body in a number of ways. But when the bacteria finds its way in, it can harm the protective layer of mucus lining the stomach. This creates holes in that protective layer and can result in ulcers. When H. pylori is present, your provider may recommend antibiotics to help eliminate the harmful bacteria.
Specific pain relievers, for example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin, can prevent your body from producing a chemical substance that functions to help protect the internal walls of your small bowel and stomach.
Other variations of pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), will not contribute to the development of stomach and small intestine ulcers. This is among the reasons why healthcare practitioners recommend taking pain medication in controlled and small dosages.
Risk factors for peptic ulcers
Other factors that increase the risk of developing duodenal or gastric ulcers are:
- Consuming spicy and acidic foods
- Drinking alcohol
- Regular use of NSAID painkillers
Our Illinois gastroenterologists can recognize the symptoms of peptic ulcers and help determine what might be the cause of the GI condition.
What are the symptoms of peptic ulcers?
Given that peptic ulcers are largely open sores in the stomach or small bowel, individuals will frequently have a burning pain and discomfort in the abdominal region when this condition has developed. Further signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers may involve:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Presence of blood in the stool
- Fatty food intolerance
- Appetite loss
If you have blood in your stool or if you vomit, contact your GI Alliance of Illinois provider without delay. If you notice any combination of the symptoms listed above or take over-the-counter antacids that reduce your pain, but the pain returns, we encourage you to request a consultation at your nearest Illinois location.
What are the treatments for peptic ulcers?
With the proper medical attention, peptic ulcers can be treated and can heal with time. Treatment options for peptic ulcers might involve:
- Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
- Decrease the use of certain pain medications
- Endoscopy to cauterize bleeding arteries
- Cytoprotective agents (medication to protect the lining of the small intestine and stomach)
- Antibiotics to kill Helicobacter pylori
- Acid-reducing medication (H-2 blockers)
Find treatment for peptic ulcers
Our gastroenterologists offer peptic ulcer treatment to Illinois patients and want to help you live your life without discomfort. Please call GI Alliance of Illinois to discover your options for treating peptic ulcers and learn more about our dedication to patient care.
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