What Are the Most Common Gastric Ulcer Treatments?

Meshell Powell

Gastric ulcers are common digestive problems that can have a variety of causes. Some of the most common treatments include the use of prescription antibiotics, over-the-counter or prescription acid reducers, and antacids. Eating a healthy diet and limiting alcohol intake can be effective treatments for many people. Additionally, reducing stress and not smoking may help prevent many of the negative symptoms associated with gastric ulcers.

A gastric endoscopy can help doctors detect ulcers.
A gastric endoscopy can help doctors detect ulcers.

A certain type of bacteria known as H. pylori is thought to contribute to the development of gastric ulcers much of the time. When an ulcer is suspected, the doctor may order tests to find out if this bacteria is present in the digestive tract. If H. pylori is found, a combination of antibiotics is typically prescribed. Antibiotic therapy is often used in conjunction with other gastric ulcer treatments.

Prescription acid reducers may help treat gastric ulcers.
Prescription acid reducers may help treat gastric ulcers.

Acid-reducing medications known as proton pump inhibitors are among the most commonly used gastric ulcer treatments. Reducing acid production often speeds up the healing process for the ulcer. This type of medication is available both over the counter and in prescription-strength formulations. There may be negative side effects associated with long-term use of these medications, and many doctors will suggest a calcium supplement to help avoid some of these side effects.

Healthy dietary habits can sometimes be quite useful gastric ulcer treatments. There should be plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in the diet to promote internal healing. It may also help to eat several small meals per day, as overeating at one sitting often aggravates the symptoms of a gastric ulcer.

Stress and smoking have not been conclusively found to cause ulcers, but these factors may aggravate the symptoms of an ulcer that already exists. Patients who smoke are typically advised to quit. Relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga may help to diffuse stressful situations and reduce the number of painful episodes associated with the presence of gastric ulcers. Alcohol consumption may also aggravate symptoms for many people, so it is often suggested that those with gastric ulcers limit or eliminate alcohol usage, at least until the ulcer heals.

Occasionally, gastric ulcers may cause severe complications, such as bleeding. If this occurs or if other gastric ulcer treatments have been unsuccessful, surgery may be required to repair the damaged stomach lining and stop the bleeding. Any questions or concerns about the most appropriate gastric ulcer treatments for an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

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