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Peptic Ulcers and H. Pylori

What is it?

Ulcer: A sore in the stomach or duodenum (beginning of small intestine)

H. Pylori: A bacteria that causes ulcers. Many people have this but do not get ulcers.

Symptoms (Some people may not have any symptoms or very mild symptoms.)

Discomfort in the abdomen

•            A dull ache in your belly

•            The ache comes and goes

•            The ache comes 2-3 hours after eating

•            The ache comes in the middle of the night

•            The ache goes away when you eat

•            The ache goes away when you take an antacid like Tums

Other symptoms

•            Weight loss

•            You don’t feel like eating

•            Bloating

•            Burping

•            Nausea

•            Vomiting


•            H. Pylori bacteria

•            Using aspirin or ibuprofen for a long time

•           Stress, alcohol, or spicy foods do NOT cause ulcers but can make them worse.

Diagnosing H. Pylori

             •             Breath test

             •             Blood test

             •             Stool test

             •             Tissue sample when an upper endoscopy is done


•           A prescription for drugs that will kill the bacteria and reduce acid in the stomach. After treatment, a stool test will be ordered to make sure the bacteria is gone.

•           If the ulcer is caused by aspirin or ibuprofen , you will be asked to stop taking these medicines.

Emergency Symptoms: Call your doctor or go to the Emergency Room

             •             Sudden, severe stomach pain

             •             Vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds

             •             Bloody or black bowel movements