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Ulcer

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Our team of gastroenterologists at Houston Methodist retain the skill and compassion required to deliver complete care for stomach, esophagus and small intestine ulcers — of any type or size.

 

Ulcers in the digestive tract are open sores of various sizes that won’t heal. Doctors at the Underwood Center combine patient-centric care paired with research-based treatment plans.

 

Houston Methodist Hospital is ranked No. 5 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery. U.S. News & World Report has also named Houston Methodist Hospital the No. 1 hospital in Texas every year since the award began and one of the nation’s best as a nationally ranked Honor Roll hospital.

 

An ulcer will continue to get worse if it is not treated. With proper treatment, most ulcers heal within a few months. Our multidisciplinary team offers every patient a thorough analysis of their symptoms, followed with customized care options.

Advanced Ulcer Treatment Options

Our state-of-the-art center offers access to the latest treatment technologies. When treating your ulcer, your doctor will consider the following procedures, surgeries and therapies:

  • Dietary interventions
  • Digestive surgery
  • Drug therapies
  • Mind-body approaches
  • Therapeutic endoscopy

 

Treatment for an ulcer depends on its type and cause. The most common types of stomach, small intestine and esophageal ulcers include:

  • Peptic ulcers – sores form when natural digestive acids damage the lining of the stomach
  • Esophageal ulcers – sores develop from overexposure to stomach acid in the esophagus

 

Most ulcers occur because H. pylori (Heliobacter pylori) bacteria caused an infection that damaged the lining in the stomach or esophagus. But not all ulcer conditions are caused by an infection. Overuse of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen can damage the stomach or intestinal lining and cause an ulcer to form. Smoking or excessive caffeine intake (more than 400 mg per day) can also contribute to the development of ulcers. In rare cases, stress or overproduction of gastric (stomach) acid is the origin. In addition, certain cancers can also present as ulcers.

How We Diagnose Ulcers

What are symptoms and complications of ulcers?

Symptoms and complications depend on the size of the sore. Smaller ulcers rarely cause problems. Larger ulcers can cause bleeding or stomach pain. Additional symptoms and complications of a possible ulcer may include any of the following:

  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Stomach burning
  • Unintended or significant weight loss
  • Vomiting

 

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.

What should I expect during an ulcer appointment?

Your doctor will ask you a series of questions about your medical history and symptoms. He or she will conduct a physical exam and order blood, breath or stool diagnostic tests. If the ulcer isn’t caused by bacteria, your doctor may order imaging tests such as an endoscopy or CT scan.

How can I receive advanced care or a second opinion?

We understand the concerns that come with an ulcer. Whether you are looking for a diagnosis or a second opinion, we’re here to help. The center’s compassionate team of gastroenterologists will diagnose your condition and design a personalized treatment plan that works for you.

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