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Gastric Ulcer  

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Definition  

A gastric ulcer is a sore in the lining of your stomach.

Treatment may include antibiotics, medications that heal the ulcer and protect the intestine, and lifestyle changes. Surgery may be needed for ulcers that bleed, obstruct, perforate, or don't heal with other treatments.

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Causes  

Upsets in the balance of stomach acid and digestive juices can lead to an ulcer. This can be caused by:

  • Helicobacter pylori ( H. pylori ) infection
  • Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Less common causes include:

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Risk Factors  

Factors that increase your chances of gastric ulcer include:

  • H. pylori infection
  • Taking NSAIDs for a long time and at higher doses
  • Prior peptic ulcer disease
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
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Symptoms  

Gastric ulcers do not always cause symptoms. Symptoms may come and go. Food or fluids sometimes make symptoms better. Having an empty stomach may make symptoms worse. However, symptoms can occur at any time.

Symptoms may include:

  • Gnawing pain:
    • May awaken you from sleep
    • May change when you eat
    • May last for a few minutes or several hours
    • Feels like unusually strong hunger pangs
    • May be relieved by taking antacids
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Weight loss

Ulcers can cause serious problems and severe abdominal pain. One problem is bleeding. Bleeding symptoms may include:

  • Bloody or black, tarry stools
  • Vomiting what looks like coffee grounds or blood
  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness

A perforated ulcer is a break through the wall of the stomach. It causes sudden and severe pain.

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Diagnosis  

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Tests may include:

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Treatment  

Talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options may include one or more of the following:

Medication  

Your doctor may rec