SIU School of Medicine

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Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Peptic Ulcer Disease

An ulcer in your digestive tract is like an open sore. Ulcers can be caused by various things including a bacteria called helicobacter pylori, pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, smoking, and other health conditions. Common symptoms of an ulcer might include burning or cramping pain in the stomach. Some people might experience belching, bloating, nausea or vomiting. Some people with an ulcer may not notice any symptoms.

An ulcer can be detected by your doctor with an upper GI series which is a test that x-rays the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. An ulcer can also de diagnosed with an endoscopy. This is a test during which your doctor places a small tube with a tiny video camera through the mouth and into the esophagus and stomach. With this test, the doctor can see if there is an ulcer, how big it is, and take a sample of it.

Treatment for an ulcer depends on the location of the ulcer as well as individual patient characteristics. Talk to your doctor for a treatment plan that is right for you.