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What Is an Ulcer?

Learn what an ulcer is from gastroenterologist Lisa Ganjhu, M.D. in this Howcast video about stomach problems and digestive disorders.


So an ulcer is an open sore that can be in our esophagus, in our stomach or duodenum or small bowel. And basically these are kind of like an abrasion that happens on the inside of the stomach. These are little abrasions that can happen within the digestive tract. And they can be caused by a multitude of things. Most commonly it's gotten from aspirin use or non-steroidals such as Motrin or Advil, medications that you may take for pain. And we're also finding that an infection can also cause their ulcers. So by treating those causes, you actually can treat the ulcers. So if you are taking aspirin or Motrin, you want to make sure you stop taking them. If there's an infection that your doctor can detect wither by endoscopy or by a blood test or breath test or a stool test, an infection called H. pylori, that's going to help starting the healing process of those ulcers. But the cornerstone of treating ulcers is by reducing the acid. And at this point either a proton pump inhibitor such as Prilosec or Prevacid or even an H2 blocker, which is a weaker one, can all help to heal an ulcer.

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