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Peptic Ulcer Disease - When To Call a Doctor

If you have been diagnosed with a peptic ulcer, call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you have:

  • Symptoms that could indicate a heart attack or shock.
  • Sudden severe, continuous belly pain or vomiting.

Call your doctor or seek medical attention right away if you have:

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  • Frequent feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when moving from lying down to a seated or standing position.
  • Blood in your vomit or something that looks like coffee grounds (partially digested blood) in your vomit.
  • Stools that are black or that look like tar, or stools that contain dark red or maroon blood.

Call your doctor if you have been diagnosed with a peptic ulcer and:

  • Your symptoms continue or become worse after 10 to 14 days of treatment.
  • You begin to lose weight without trying.
  • You are vomiting.
  • You have new belly pain or belly pain that does not go away.

Watchful waiting

If you have been diagnosed with a peptic ulcer and medical treatment is not helping, call your doctor. Waiting until your symptoms get worse can be serious.

If you don't know if you have a peptic ulcer and you don't have any of the emergency symptoms listed above, you may try taking an antacid or nonprescription acid reducer and other home treatment, such as making changes to your diet.

  • If your symptoms don't get better after 10 to 14 days, call your doctor.
  • If your symptoms go away after you take antacids or acid reducers and try home treatment, but then the symptoms come back, call your doctor.

Who to see

To evaluate your symptoms, see your:

If further testing or treatment is needed, you may need to see someone who specializes in the treatment of diseases of the digestive tract (gastroenterologist).

If surgery is needed, your doctor may refer you to a general surgeon. But surgery is rarely needed to treat ulcers.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 15, 2013
    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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