Expert Diagnosis and Treatment of H. pylori and Peptic Ulcers for Patients in New Jersey
H. pylori and Peptic Ulcers Overview
Peptic ulcers are sores that form in the stomach lining. Long thought to be due to stress or eating spicy foods, we have now discovered that the bacteria H. pylori is actually a common cause of peptic ulcers. With this knowledge comes better available treatment for peptic ulcer disease.
H. pylori and Peptic Ulcers Symptoms
The most common symptom of peptic ulcers is abdominal pain. This pain may grow in intensity or feel like a burning sensation. Vomiting blood, known as hematemesis, can occur in rare cases of severe peptic ulcer disease.
Possible Causes of H. pylori and Peptic Ulcers
Although peptic ulcers are not usually caused by spicy food or stress, these factors, along with alcohol consumption, can aggravate peptic ulcers. Most ulcers form due to the bacteria H. pylori. These bacteria live in the stomach and contribute to stomach ulcers.
H. pylori and Peptic Ulcers Diagnosis
Peptic ulcers can be diagnosed through imaging and/or endoscopy which can be done for you by doctors at New Jersey Advanced Gastro Center. Imaging includes procedures like x-rays, MRI, and CT scans. In an endoscopy, a tube with a camera is passed through your esophagus into your stomach so that your gastroenterologist can view your stomach directly.
The presence of H. pylori can be detected in several ways – a blood test, breath test, or biopsy. The blood test is a simple laboratory test where a small sample of your blood is drawn. The breath test can also be performed in your gastroenterologist’s office. You’ll need to breathe into a bag and your breath will be sent off for analysis. Experienced gastroenterologists at New Jersey Advanced Gastro Center can also perform a biopsy to check for H. pylori during an endoscopy, discussed above. The biopsied tissue will be examined by a pathologist to search for the presence of H. pylori.
Treatment of H. pylori and Peptic Ulcers
There are several treatments available for peptic ulcers. If you test positive for H. pylori, your gastroenterologist may decide to treat you with antibiotics that kill these bacteria. Also, you will likely be prescribed drugs that reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes, neutralize your stomach acid, or protect your stomach lining. If you are prescribed antibiotics, it is important to take them as directed. You should finish your prescription even if you begin feeling better, as ending antibiotic treatment may allow the bacteria to return stronger. Your gastroenterologist may also recommend lifestyle changes, like a modified diet, weight loss, ceasing smoking, and abstaining from alcohol.