Peptic Ulcer Disease Diagnosed and Treated by GI Doctors at Mercy


Peptic ulcers are sores in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or first part of the small intestine.

At The Melissa L. Posner Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy in Baltimore, a team of  doctors works to diagnose and treat peptic ulcer disease. Patients who have unexplained abdominal pain or signs of bleeding seek out the expertise of the gastroenterology doctors at Mercy to diagnose and treat diseases of the digestive tract. 

About the Condition

A peptic ulcer is an open sore in the lining of the stomach, upper small intestine, or esophagus. When acid irritates the lining of the digestive tract, a peptic ulcer is formed. A peptic ulcer is named according to its location in the digestive tract:

  • Gastric ulcer is a peptic ulcer found in the stomach
  • Esophageal ulcer is a peptic ulcer found in the esophagus
  • Duodenal ulcer is a peptic ulcer found in the upper portion of the small intestines
NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is abdominal pain, or stomach pain. Often it is a burning pain. Other symptoms of a peptic ulcer include:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Vomiting blood
  • A bloody stool or dark stool
  • Weight loss

A bacterial infection, including Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), and some medications can cause a peptic ulcer to develop. Regular use of pain relievers, smoking, and excessive alcohol use are contributing factors to the formation of a peptic ulcer.

An upper gastrointestinal tract X-ray, or Barium Swallow test, is used to diagnose a peptic ulcer. If there are signs of bleeding, an endoscopy will be performed to detect if a peptic ulcer is present in the digestive tract.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Peptic ulcer treatment options are determined according to the cause of the peptic ulcer. If a bacterial infection is the cause of the peptic ulcer, antibiotics are prescribed. Other medications also may be prescribed to reduce the amount of acid in the digestive tract. Typically, between antibiotics and medications, a peptic ulcer will heal. It is rare for a peptic ulcer not to heal; however, when a peptic ulcer does not heal, it could be an indication of other digestive diseases such as Crohn’s disease or stomach cancer.

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