If you have burning pain in your stomach that keeps coming back, you may want to talk to your doctor about the possibility of a stomach ulcer. Pain is a common symptom of an ulcer, but you might also have nausea, bloating, or stomach bleeding. If your doctor thinks the symptoms you have could indicate an ulcer, you might be referred to a stomach doctor, or gastroenterologist, for testing and treatment. Here are some treatments that your stomach doctor might recommend.
Antibiotics for Ulcers Caused by Bacteria
When you're tested for an ulcer, one thing your doctor looks for is the presence of H. pylori. This bacteria is one cause of ulcers, and taking antibiotics could kill off the bacteria and help your condition. Testing for this bacteria can be done with a simple breath test, and if the test is positive, your doctor chooses the right antibiotic for you to take. Different antibiotics can kill H. pylori, and this form of treatment can be effective, although ulcers can be caused by other things besides bacteria. In that case, antibiotics wouldn't be useful.
If your doctor does give you antibiotics, you may also be given antacids to help reduce your stomach acid until the bacterial balance in your stomach is restored.
Adjustments of Your Medications
Another cause of stomach ulcers is the medications that you take for other medical conditions. Your gastroenterologist may work with your family doctor to regulate, replace, or reduce your other medications so they don't harm the lining of your stomach. Your stomach normally has a layer of mucus that protects it from strong stomach acid. If the mucus is disrupted or if the acid gets too strong, then an ulcer can form. This can happen by taking certain prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.
Since you take those drugs for a reason, it may not be possible to stop them, so your stomach doctor may need to devise a treatment plan, such as taking antacids along with your medications, so your stomach is protected.
Prescribe Medications That Reduce Stomach Acid
There are prescription medications your doctor can try that reduce the acid in your stomach so your stomach lining can heal. These medications block or reduce the production of acid in your stomach. These medications help reduce stomach pain and promote healing and you could need to take them long term.
Advise on Diet and Lifestyle Changes
While stress and drinking coffee may not cause an ulcer, they can make your existing ulcer feel worse. Your doctor might recommend you stop smoking and give up alcohol, chocolate, coffee, and spicy foods. You might also be advised to learn stress reduction techniques and improve your quality of sleep.
Stomach ulcers can often be managed with medications as long as you take them as your doctor prescribes. If your ulcers don't heal and get worse, you might have complications from bleeding or a stomach perforation, so following doctor's orders is important for helping your stomach heal. Learn more by contacting local stomach doctor services.