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Peptic Ulcers

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Marked by a burning sensation caused from a wound in the lining of your stomach (gastric ulcer) or your duodenum (duodenal ulcer), peptic ulcers develop when the acids that help you digest food damage the walls of your stomach or duodenum (first part of the small intestine). Contrary to popular belief, stress and spicy food do not cause peptic ulcers, but they can make symptoms worse.

If you have a peptic ulcer, it was most likely caused by an infection from bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), or by long-term use of certain medications and painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), and naproxen sodium (such as Aleve or Anaprox).

Although it’s possible not to experience any symptoms, the most common peptic ulcer symptom is a burning sensation or pain in your belly between your breastbone and your belly button. The pain usually happens before or after meals and at night, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours.

Less common, but more severe, ulcer symptoms may include:

  • Bloody or black stool
  • Excessive burping
  • Feeling full after eating a small amount of food
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Nausea
  • Not feeling hungry at all for several days
  • Vomiting
  • Vomiting blood

Several conditions have similar symptoms to peptic ulcers; therefore, it’s important that you be seen by a medical professional to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Why Choose UHealth?

A motility lab for accurate diagnosis of GI conditions. The only facility of its kind in South Florida, our motility lab enables our GI specialists to provide accurate diagnoses of GI conditions more quickly and efficiently. We offer a variety of leading-edge services, such as hydrogen breath testing, anal-rectal manometry, and bio-feedback.

A broad array of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.  Regardless of your age, condition, or whether you need long- or short-term digestive treatments, you will receive the most accurate diagnosis and most effective treatment to keep your stomach, digestive system, and organs healthy.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.


  • Medications

    Your GI doctor may prescribe medication to reduce your stomach acids.

  • Antibiotics

    Your GI doctor may prescribe antibiotic medication to kill the H. pylori bacteria.

  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

    This treatment is used for peptic ulcers that are bleeding a lot or not healing.

  • Surgery

    Surgery may be required if the EGD fails and the ulcer has caused a tear.

  • Lifestyle Modifications

    You should avoid drinking too much alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or chewing tobacco.




  • Blood test

    A blood test can check for infection-fighting cells (antibodies) that indicate you have H. pylori.

  • Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Series

    This test checks your esophagus, stomach, and the first part of your small intestine. You will swallow a metallic fluid called barium to make your organs visible on an X-ray.

  • Upper Endoscopy or EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy)

    This test looks at the lining or inside of your esophagus, stomach, and your small intestine using a thin, lighted tube that has a camera at one end (endoscope). We place the tube into your stomach through your mouth.

  • Stool Culture

  • This can check for the presence of H. pylori bacteria.

  • Urea Breathe Test

    This test checks to see how much carbon dioxide is in your breath when you exhale. If you have H. pylori, the urea will break down and become carbon dioxide. You will have a sample taken of your breath by breathing into a bag.