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What Is Peptic Ulcer Disease?

How Are Ulcers Treated?

If not properly treated, ulcers can lead to serious health problems. There are several ways in which ulcers can be treated, including making changes to ones lifestyle, limiting dairy, taking medication, and/or undergoing surgery.

Lifestyle Changes to Treat an Ulcer

To treat an ulcer, first eliminate substances that can be causing the ulcers. If you smoke or drink alcohol, stop. If the ulcer is believed to be caused by the use of NSAIDs, they need to be stopped.

Ulcer Medications

Ulcer medications can include:

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Proton pump medications reduce acid levels and allow the ulcer to heal. They include Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Protonix, Zegerid, Dexilant, and Nexium.
  • Antibiotics. If you have H. pylori infection, then antibiotics are used. There are multiple combinations of antibiotics that are taken for one to two weeks along with a PPI. Pepto-Bismol is also part of some treatment regimens.
  • Upper endoscopy. Some bleeding ulcers can be treated through an endoscope.
  • Surgery. Sometimes an operation is needed if the ulcer has created a hole in the wall of the stomach or if there is serious bleeding that can't be controlled with an endoscope.

Will Drinking Milk Help Cure an Ulcer?

No. In fact, milk can make an ulcer worse. Milk provides brief relief of ulcer pain because it coats the stomach lining. But milk can also stimulate the stomach to produce more acid and digestive juices, which can aggravate ulcers.

How Can I Prevent Ulcers?

To reduce the risk of developing ulcers:

  • Don't smoke.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Don't overuse aspirin and/or NSAIDs.
  • If you have symptoms of an ulcer, contact your health care provider.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Andrew Seibert, MD on September 19, 2012
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