What are Peptic ulcers? 

A peptic ulcer is the burning abdominal pain spreading from the navel to the chest. In today’s article let’s discuss in detail peptic ulcer its symptoms, treatment, tests required and prevention.


Peptic ulcers are sores that form in the lining of the stomach, lower oesophagus and small intestine. They formed as a result of inflammation.  Firstly peptic ulcers are a common health concern. The symptoms may vary some may feel discomfort or burning pain. On the other hand, others might not show any symptoms.

The three types of peptic ulcers are:

Causes of peptic ulcers

Different facets cause inflammation. These include:

Stress and eating plenty of spicy food don’t cause ulcers. But they can make ulcers more harmful and difficult to treat.


The most common symptom is burning abdominal ache that extends from the navel to the chest, which can range from mild to severe. In a few cases, the pain may disrupt sleep by waking you up at night. Small peptic ulcers may not show any symptoms in the early stages.

Other common signs of a peptic ulcer include:

Ulcers form when digestive juices damage the walls of the stomach or small intestine. If the mucus layer gets too thin or your stomach makes too much acid, your gut will feel it.


The doctor will ask about the symptoms, intake of NSAIDs and other drugs, and the medical history. They’ll also check for bloating in the belly and pain. That may be enough to make a diagnosis. The only way your doctor can tell for sure if you have an ulcer is to look. They may use a series of X-rays or tests. 

Tests required

The two types of tests available to diagnose a peptic ulcer are,  

1. Upper endoscopy

In this procedure, the doctor inserts a long tube with a camera down the throat and into the stomach & small intestine to examine the area for ulcers. This instrument also aids in removing tissue samples for examination.

         Not all cases require an upper endoscopy. However, this procedure is recommended for people with a higher risk of stomach cancer. This includes people over the age of 45, as well as people who experience:

2. Upper GI

For this procedure, a thick liquid called barium is given to drink. Then a technician will take an X-ray of the stomach, oesophagus, and small intestine. The liquid will make it possible for your doctor to view and treat the ulcer. Since H. pylori is a cause of peptic ulcers, your doctor will also run a test to check for this infection in your stomach.


           Treatment depends on the cause of your ulcer. If tests turn up positive for H. pylori infection, the physician will prescribe a combination of medications. The medications comprise antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). If these medications cause any side effects that are hard to bear, consult the doctor. If it’s not due to H. pylori infection,  a prescription or over-the-counter PPI is given. This helps reduce stomach acid and heal ulcers. Acid blockers like famotidine reduce stomach acid and ulcer pain. 

Some ulcers, called refractory ulcers, don’t heal with treatment. If the ulcer doesn’t heal with the initial treatment, this can indicate:

The doctor may offer a different method of treatment or run additional tests. This is to rule out stomach cancer and other gastrointestinal diseases.


Medications are usually used to treat mild-to-moderate ulcers.


If left untreated, ulcers worsen over time. As a result leading to more serious health complications like:

All three complications are severe and may require surgery. Seek urgent medical care if you experience the following symptoms:


Certain lifestyle preferences reduce your risk of developing peptic ulcers. These comprise:

Pain relievers. Some people with chronic pain conditions take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for weeks/months. These medications can have an effect on the mucus that protects the stomach from acid. In addition, increasing the risk of developing peptic ulcers.

These pain relievers include:

You’re more likely to get an ulcer while taking one of these if you:

To lower your chances for peptic ulcers while you take NSAIDs:

While you’re on NSAIDs, you can take medicine to lower the amount of acid your stomach makes. Drugs that can do that include:

But you can also take the drug misoprostol to boost the amount of protective mucus your stomach makes. But that can cause side effects like diarrhoea and stomach cramps.


Most peptic ulcers heal with proper treatment. However, if users stop taking medication too soon or continue to use tobacco, alcohol, or nonsteroidal pain relievers during treatment, it may not heal. In conclusion, take your meds properly & follow the lifestyle preferences suitable for this condition.



Author: Hi there, my name is Subin Joshua, and I am a Medical student. I grew up in a family of teachers and know that being a social worker is my calling. My passion for helping others has been evident in my involvement in helping the poor and needy for the last three years. Through those experiences, I have learned to interact with a diverse group of people, which has increased my ability to relate to others.