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Peptic Ulcer

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Laboratory tests

  • The most common laboratory test for diagnosing peptic ulcers is a blood test for the presence of antibodies to H. pylori. The presence of H. pylori antibodies means you have been infected at some time with this organism.
  • A stool sample may be collected to look for the H. pylori antigen; however, this test is not appropriate for individuals who have blood in their stool.
  • A breath test known as the "urea breath test" is also available that detects the enzyme activity of H. pylori.
  • Hemoglobin testing may be performed to check for anemia
  • Fecal occult blood test may be done to check for blood in the stool. 

Non-laboratory tests

Some invasive procedures may be used to diagnose an ulcer. These include:

  • Upper GI  - a series of x-rays of the gastrointestinal tract 
  • Endoscopy - a tiny camera on the end of a thin tube is fed through the mouth, down the esophagus, to the duodenum

If tissue is removed from the stomach during the endoscopy (a biopsy), it may be examined in the lab for the presence of active H. pylori infection and associated stomach damage (gastritis).

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