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Peptic Ulcer

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Stopping and avoiding the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help a peptic ulcer to heal. Avoidance of caffeine, alcohol, and smoking are also recommended.

If the peptic ulcer is due to infection with Helicobacter pylori, treatment usually involves a combination of antibiotics to kill the bacteria and drugs to reduce the amount of stomach acid produced, such as proton pump inhibitors and histamine receptor blockers. A bismuth preparation such as Pepto-Bismol® may be prescribed to help coat ulcers and protect them from stomach acid.

Treatment can take several weeks; left untreated, peptic ulcers tend to recur and, in rare cases, can cause stomach cancer. Peptic ulcers are rarely fatal, but if they penetrate the stomach or intestinal wall (perforation), break a blood vessel (hemorrhage), or block food leaving the stomach (obstruction), they can be very serious.

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