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Understanding Peptic Ulcer Disease

Peptic ulcer disease is the presence of painful open sores, or ulcers, in the stomach or the upper small intestine. Contrary to popular belief, stress cannot cause an ulcer, though it can make symptoms worse. The development of most ulcers can be traced to bacterial infections or long-term use of aspirin and certain other pain medications.

There are two types of peptic ulcers: gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers. Gastric ulcers form on the inside of the stomach, while duodenal ulcers occur in the upper portion of the small intestine. Many people with this condition don’t have any noticeable symptoms, while others may experience:

  • Burning pain in the stomach, especially at night or between meals
  • A lingering feeling of fullness
  • Frequent bloating or belching
  • A new or unusual intolerance to fatty food
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea

It’s always smart to have new or worsening symptoms evaluated by a physician. This is particularly true if you are experiencing severe symptoms of peptic ulcer disease, including trouble breathing, dark or bloody stools, or vomiting.  

Treatment for peptic ulcers often involves eliminating the bacteria that has caused the sores or reducing use of aspirins and other problematic pain medications. Your physician may also recommend that you take medication to help your ulcers heal.

Tampa General Hospital’s Endoscopy Center offers a full spectrum of care to patients with peptic ulcers and a variety of other gastrointestinal issues. Thanks to our commitment to providing individualized treatments and world-class surgical care, TGH has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Gastroenterology and GI Surgery in 2017-18.

If you require treatment for peptic ulcer disease, TGH makes it simple to find the right gastroenterologist. Take advantage of our online Physician Finder or call 1-800-833-3627.