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What Medication Do You Take For Stomach Ulcers

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Research On The Prevention Of Peptic Ulcers

A group of researchers from the an international network of researchers wanted to find out which medications can prevent the development of peptic ulcers. To do so, they looked for studies where NSAIDs were combined with PPIs, H2 blockers or misoprostol. The researchers found 41 suitable studies with a total of more than 21,000 participants.

The people in the studies were mainly men and women who had osteoarthritis or a rheumatic disease. All of them took one or several NSAIDs for at least three weeks and had a fairly high risk of getting a peptic ulcer. A number of the studies compared proton pump inhibitors, H2 blockers or misoprostol with a placebo or with each other. The participants were observed for up to one year. Regardless of whether they had symptoms, in almost all of the studies the participants had a gastroscopy to see whether they had an ulcer in their stomach or duodenum.

What Causes Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers occur when the layer protecting the stomach lining from stomach acid breaks down. This allows the stomach lining to become damaged.

This is usually caused by:

  • an infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen or aspirin particularly if they’re taken for a long time or at high doses

There’s little evidence that stress or certain foods causes stomach ulcers.

More about the causes of stomach ulcers

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H2 Blockers: Effectiveness Depends On Dose

The studies on H2 blockers mainly looked at the drugs famotidine and ranitidine. These studies lasted up to one year. Both drugs were shown to prevent peptic ulcers, but their effectiveness greatly depended on the dose taken. When taken at lower doses, the medications only reduced the risk of duodenal ulcers. When taken at higher doses, they effectively prevented both stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers:

  • Without an H2 blocker, 36 out of 100 people developed an ulcer.
  • With an H2 blocker, 15 out of 100 people developed an ulcer.

In other words, higher doses of H2 blockers prevented peptic ulcers in 21 out of 100 people.

The effective doses in the trials were 40 mg twice daily for famotidine and 300 mg twice daily for ranitidine. These medications were also well tolerated at higher doses. Side effects such as headaches, diarrhea or constipation may occur, though.

Bleeding Peptic Ulcer: Treatment

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A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of your stomach or duodenum . Your ulcer is bleeding or at high risk of bleeding. This means that you need treatment right away. Treatment can include medicines. It may also include a procedure such as endoscopy, angiography, or surgery. Your provider will work with you to decide which treatments are best for you. Read on to learn more about each type of treatment.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers

Many people with peptic ulcers don’t have any signs, but upper abdominal pain is the most common symptom.

  • Extend from your navel up to your breastbone
  • Feel worse when your stomach is empty
  • Feel better temporarily when you eat certain foods or take an antacid
  • Get worse at night
  • Come and go for days or weeks

Other symptoms of peptic ulcers may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting of red or dark blood
  • Feeling bloated or full
  • Bloody, black, or tar-like stools
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Changes in your appetite

Diagnosis Of A Stomach Ulcer

Diagnosing a stomach ulcer is done using a range of methods, including:

  • Endoscopy a thin flexible tube is threaded down the oesophagus into the stomach under light anaesthesia. The endoscope is fitted with a small camera so the physician can see if there is an ulcer.
  • Barium meal a chalky liquid is drunk and an x-ray is performed, showing the stomach lining. These tests are less common nowadays, but may be useful where endoscopy is unavailable.
  • Biopsy a small tissue sample is taken during an endoscopy and tested in a laboratory. This biopsy should always be done if a gastric ulcer is found.
  • C14 breath test this checks for the presence of H. pylori. The bacteria convert urea into carbon dioxide. The test involves swallowing an amount of radioactive carbon and testing the air exhaled from the lungs. A non-radioactive test can be used for children and pregnant women.

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How Long Does Stomach Ulcer Take To Heal

Stomachulcer as the name suggests is an open sore with inflammation that formson the inside lining of the stomach. If left untreated it may turn to becomeserious, leading to dangerous complications. So its usually necessary to take prompttreatment to deal with! The good news, it is treatable and even often curable. Thebiggest question, how long does it take to heal?

What Is The Treatment For Ulcers

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If you have ulcer symptoms, see your doctor. Prompt treatment can prevent excessive bleeding and other complications.

Ulcers are usually diagnosed after an upper GI endoscopy . An endoscope is a long flexible tube with a light and camera on the end. The tube is inserted into your throat, then to the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine. Learn how to prepare for an endoscopy here.

Generally performed as an outpatient procedure, it allows the doctor to locate and identify problems in the stomach and upper intestine.

Bleeding ulcers must be addressed quickly, and treatment can start during the initial endoscopy. If bleeding from ulcers is found during the endoscopy, the doctor can:

  • inject medication directly
  • cauterize the ulcer to stop the bleeding
  • clamp off the bleeding vessel

If you have an ulcer, youll be tested for H. pylori. This can be done using a tissue sample taken during the endoscopy. It can also be accomplished with noninvasive tests such as a stool sample or breath test.

If you have the infection, antibiotics and other drugs can help fight the bacteria and ease symptoms. To be certain you get rid of it, you must finish taking the medication as directed, even if your symptoms stop.

If your ulcers are the result of taking too many NSAIDs, work with your doctor to find another medication to treat pain.

Over-the-counter antacids sometimes relieve symptoms. Ask your doctor if its okay to take antacids.

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Duration Of Peptic Ulcers

Ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori heal when the bacteria is killed. The typical course of treatment includes two weeks of antibiotics along with acid-suppressing medicine. This is followed by an additional four to eight weeks of the acid-suppressing medicine alone.

Its possible for an ulcer to heal temporarily without antibiotics, but it will likely recur or another one will form nearby if the bacteria is not killed.

Peptic ulcers caused by medication usually heal shortly after you stop taking the medication. Doctors typically recommend taking antacids for two to six weeks to assist with healing and relieve pain.

If Your Ulcer Was Caused By Helicobacter Pylori

Most stomach ulcers are caused by infection with H. pylori. Therefore, a main part of the treatment is to clear this infection. If this infection is not cleared, the ulcer is likely to return once you stop taking acid-suppressing medication. For more information, see the separate leaflet called Helicobacter Pylori.

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Causes And Risk Factors Of Peptic Ulcers

For a long time, it was believed that spicy foods or stress led to peptic ulcers but doctors now know that this isn’t the case.

In fact, the most common causes of ulcers are:

Certain factors can put a person at a greater risk of developing a peptic ulcer, including:

  • Taking high doses of NSAIDs
  • Using NSAIDs continuously over a long period of time
  • Being female
  • Having a history of ulcer disease
  • Taking corticosteroids, medications that may be prescribed to treat asthma, arthritis, or lupus

Healthy Eating Guidelines For People With Peptic Ulcers

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A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of your stomach or small intestine. Peptic ulcers include gastric ulcers that form in the stomach and duodenal ulcers that form at the beginning of the small intestine. The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is a dull, burning pain in your stomach. Other symptoms may include bloating, burping, poor appetite, nausea, and weight loss.

Most peptic ulcers are caused by infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori . Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin can also cause ulcers. Most ulcers are treated with medicines. Ulcers caused by H. pylori are usually treated with antibiotics. Ulcers caused by NSAIDs are often treated with medication that lowers the amount of stomach acid and by reducing or stopping NSAIDs.

No specific food has been shown to cause ulcers, but some may make your symptoms worse or may make it more difficult for your ulcer to heal. This resource provides healthy eating suggestions that can help you manage your ulcer.

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What To Expect At Home

You have peptic ulcer disease . You may have had tests to help diagnose your ulcer. One of these tests may have been to look for bacteria in your stomach called Helicobacter pylori . This type of infection is a common cause of ulcers.

Most peptic ulcers will heal within about 4 to 6 weeks after treatment begins. Do not stop taking the medicines you have been prescribed, even if symptoms go away quickly.

When Should You Call Or See A Doctor

If you think you have a stomach ulcer, call your doctor. Together you can discuss your symptoms and treatment options. If you dont already have a physician, you can use the Healthline FindCare tool to find a provider near you.

Its important to get a stomach ulcer taken care of because without treatment, ulcers and H. pylori can cause:

  • bleeding from the ulcer site that can become life-threatening
  • penetration, which occurs when the ulcer goes through the wall of the digestive tract and into another organ, such as the pancreas
  • perforation, which occurs when the ulcer creates a hole in the wall of the digestive tract
  • obstruction in the digestive tract, which is due to swelling of inflamed tissues
  • stomach cancer, specifically non-cardia gastric cancer

Symptoms of these complications can include those listed below. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to call you doctor right away:

  • weakness

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Making A Decision And Considering Alternative Options

All three types of stomach-protecting medication can lower the risk of getting peptic ulcers. Proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers appear to be very well tolerated. But it is important to make sure the dose of H2 blockers is high enough. H2 blockers can become less effective over time because your body gets used to them. This doesn’t seem to be a problem when taking proton pump inhibitors.

The risk of stomach and bowel problems can be reduced by taking the lowest possible dose of painkillers, and only taking them for as long as necessary. Acetaminophen may sometimes be an alternative to NSAIDs. It doesn’t increase the risk of peptic ulcers and is often just as effective. But it has side effects too: For instance, it may cause liver damage if the dose is too high or if you take it regularly.

It’s best to talk to a doctor about how high your own personal risk of getting a peptic ulcer is, as well as what medications you could take to protect your stomach.

What Are The Risks For People With Ulcers

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Why do painkillers increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems? The same chemicals that amplify pain — which some pain medicines block — also help maintain the protective lining of the stomach and intestines. When a painkiller stops these chemicals from working, the digestive tract becomes more vulnerable to damage from gastric acids.

For people with ulcers, the risky pain relievers are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. They include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and ketoprofen, the active ingredients in medicines such as Bufferin, Advil, and Aleve.

Other pain relievers may be less dangerous. Acetaminophen — the active ingredient in Tylenol — works differently and poses a much lower risk of GI problems. However, like any drug, it does have side effects of its own. You shouldn’t take any over-the-counter painkiller for more than 10 days without your health care provider’s approval.

The risks from NSAIDs are quite serious. Studies show that people who use NSAIDs are about three times as likely to have gastrointestinal bleeding. Even at low doses, NSAIDs can make mild ulcers much worse.

Aspirin has additional risks. “Aspirin can help prevent blood clotting, which is why it helps people at risk of heart attacks and strokes,” says Cryer. “But in people with ulcers, it can lead to more serious gastrointestinal bleeding.”

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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

If you have stomach ulcers, you may want to ask your doctor:

  • What pain reliever can I use instead of an NSAID?
  • How will I know if the H. pylori infection is gone?
  • How do we find out if the ulcer has healed?
  • What can I do relieve symptoms at home during treatment?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Contrary to commonly held beliefs, ulcers arent caused by stress or foods you eat. Most of time, bacteria causes them. Doctors can treat the bacteria with antibiotics and other medications.

If youve been popping a lot of antacids lately, youre constantly snacking to get rid of a gnawing pain in your stomach or you have any other signs of an ulcer, the best thing you can do for your health is talk to your provider. Treatment can heal an ulcer in a matter of weeks.

How Do Doctors Treat An Nsaid

If NSAIDs are causing your peptic ulcer and you dont have an H. pylori infection, your doctor may tell you to

  • stop taking the NSAID
  • reduce how much of the NSAID you take
  • switch to another medicine that wont cause a peptic ulcer

Your doctor may also prescribe medicines to reduce stomach acid and coat and protect your peptic ulcer. Proton pump inhibitors , histamine receptor blockers, and protectants can help relieve pain and help your ulcer heal.

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Peptic Ulcer Disease Treatment: Medication

Several different medication therapies are available to help reduce gastric acid and coat the ulcers:

  • Antacids neutralize gastric acid. The disadvantage is that you need to take a relatively large dose for them to be effective, and they can cause unwanted side effects like diarrhea.
  • Histamine blockers reduce gastric acid by blocking the H2 receptors. These medications decrease acid secretion and are a relatively safe treatment option.
  • Proton pump inhibitors are drugs that block the three major pathways for acid production. PPIs suppress acid production much more effectively than H2 blockers. PPIs are the gold standard in medication therapy of peptic ulcer disease.
  • Medications to protect and strengthen the mucous lining of the stomach
  • Antibiotics to treat H. pylori if it is detected

What If I Still Need To Take Nsaids

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If you take NSAIDs for other conditions, such as arthritis, you should talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of using NSAIDs. Your doctor can help you determine how to continue using an NSAID safely after your peptic ulcer symptoms go away. Your doctor may prescribe a medicine used to prevent NSAID-induced ulcers called Misoprosotol.

Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medicines you take. Your doctor can then decide if you may safely take NSAIDs or if you should switch to a different medicine. In either case, your doctor may prescribe a PPI or histamine receptor blocker to protect the lining of your stomach and duodenum.

If you need NSAIDs, you can reduce the chance of a peptic ulcer returning by

  • taking the NSAID with a meal
  • using the lowest effective dose possible
  • avoiding alcohol

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What Are Stomach Ulcers

There are two kinds of stomach ulcers: gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers. Gastric ulcers are sores on the lining of your stomach. Duodenal ulcers are sores on the upper section of your small intestine.

Your body creates a protective layer of mucus to shield the linings of your stomach and small intestine from the harsh stomach acid required to break down food. When the mucus layer is worn away or doesnt function properly, the acid begins to damage the lining of the stomach or small intestine, creating an ulcer. Many people believe spicy foods or stress cause ulcers, but while these can exacerbate existing ulcers, they dont actually cause them.

Ulcers are usually caused by an infection from a common bacteria called helicobacter pylori or from the habitual use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin. Other factors, such as being older than age 50, smoking, genetics, steroid use, and frequent alcohol use, can increase your risk of developing an ulcer.

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