To alleviate symptoms associated with stomach ulcers such as heartburn, over-the-counter antacids such as Tums and Maalox are commonly recommended by pharmacists.
In severe cases, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family doctor from Vancouver, may prescribe medications like Zantac or Nexium – also known as H2 Blockers and PPI’s (Proton Pump Inhibitors.)
These types of medications work to reduce and neutralize the amount of acid that the stomach produces, therefore causing symptoms to be less severe or disappear completely. While these medications have a high success rate in Canadians with gastrointestinal problems, there are rare cases where surgery may be required.
As with almost all medical conditions, a diagnosis of a stomach ulcer and the choice in treatment is always depending on the severity of the symptoms. At Brentwood Medical Clinic, Dr. Ali Ghahary works with patients by reviewing their medical history and discussing any over-the-counter medications a patient may be taking to ensure that it is not a direct cause of a stomach ulcer. In cases where H. pylori is a suspected cause, a blood, stood or breath test may be ordered, which will show a high level of carbon dioxide. Your physician may also refer you to a Gastroenterologist who can perform further, more in-depth testing such as an endoscopy and endoscopic biopsy to analyze the stomach tissue.
Complications from stomach ulcers can arise, and you should always seek immediate medical attention if you develop sudden, sharp stomach pain that does not go away, black or bloody stools, or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
In order to reduce the risk of developing a bacterial infection such as H. pylori and in order to prevent the spread of bacteria, you should always wash your hands regularly with soap and water. When dealing with a potential stomach ulcer, alcohol should always be avoided and you should also limit the use of NSAIDs, as these put you at a significantly increased risk of developing a stomach ulcer.