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Peptic Ulcer Disease - Exams and Tests

Although not all peptic ulcers are caused by bacteria, it's getting more common to do a test for Helicobacter pyloritest for Helicobacter pylori whenever someone has ulcer symptoms. This includes testing your blood, breath, stool, or a sample of tissue from your digestive tract (biopsy).

An endoscopy may be done so that a doctor can:

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  • Look at the inside of your stomach and your upper small intestine to check for an ulcer.
  • Collect a tissue sample (biopsy) that can be tested for H. pylori or cancer.

If you are older than 55, you may need an endoscopy because of a higher risk for stomach cancer. This is especially true if you have:

  • Ulcer symptoms for the first time.
  • Ulcer symptoms that return before or after treatment is completed.
  • A family history of stomach cancer.
  • Other symptoms that may point to a more serious problem, such as stomach cancer. These include:

Other tests that may be done include:

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT). This test may be done to detect blood in the stool, which may be caused by a peptic ulcer or another serious problem, such as colon cancer. By itself, an FOBT cannot diagnose peptic ulcer disease, but it may show if an ulcer is bleeding.
  • Complete blood count (CBC). This blood test may be done to look for anemia, which may be caused by a bleeding ulcer.
  • Upper GI series. This X-ray exam of the esophagus and stomach may be used to diagnose peptic ulcer disease, although this test is being used less frequently.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 04, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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