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SCL Health Medical Group - Good Samaritan General & Trauma Surgery

Peptic Ulcer Disease

Today we know that stomach acids and other digestive juices help create ulcers. These fluids burn the linings of your organs. When you need more than over-the-counter help, we're here for you.

Peptic ulcer disease means ulcers in the stomach or first part of small intestine. Excess acid in the stomach causes your ulcers. We usually treat ulcers with medications to decrease the acid in the stomach.

Peptic ulcer disease only infrequently requires surgery. Over the last two decades, medical advances have made surgery a last resort medical need. We've seen the development of medications, like H2 blockers, which decrease the production of stomach acid. We have also found that treatment for Helicobacter pylori infection can stop most ulcer recurrences.

One of the first tests we complete is an EGD video scope. This looks at the inside of your stomach using a flexible camera. We insert the camera down the mouth and into the stomach.

Surgery for peptic ulcer disease

Surgery is still required in several unusual settings. It remains a mainstay in the emergency therapy of life-threatening complications for aggressive and advanced ulcer diseases.

There are several different types of surgery we can perform. You and your doctor will discuss these surgeries and the risks and benefits together.

Signs you need surgery

We traditionally use surgical treatment for peptic ulcers when they:

  • A failure of medications to treat the symptoms or complications of your ulcer
  • Bleeding ulcers that cannot be controlled with endoscopy.
  • Evidence of perforation (rupture) of an ulcer through the stomach wall.
  • Obstruction or blockage of the stomach outlet.
  • Suspicion of cancer, usually in a stomach ulcer. Even if biopsies are benign, a gastric ulcer that has failed to heal after 12 weeks of medical therapy is usually considered a sign for operation.

Risks

  • Infection, especially if the stomach is perforated at the time of surgery
  • Bleeding
  • Injury to surrounding organs, such as the pancreas, intestines, colon, esophagus
  • Recurrence of ulcers

Recovery after stomach Surgery for PUD

You may be in the hospital for 2 - 7 days, or more for recovery. This depends on the type of surgery you had. You may need imaging studies to test the stomach after surgery. We track your diet to make sure you are able to digest the food you eat. It is important that your stomach and intestines are working as expected before you leave our care.

Most people will feel about 80% recovered after 8 weeks, but full recovery may take 6-12 months.

Learn more about peptic ulcers.

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