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An ulcer results when the lining of the stomach fails to provide adequate protection against the effect of digestive acids and enzyme, which, in effect start to digest stomach itself. A peptic ulcer is a spot where the lining of the stomach or small intestine and the tissue beneath and sometimes part of the stomach muscle itself have been eroded,leaving an internal open wound. It was once believed that stress and anxiety were the main cause of ulcers. However, evidence has shown ulcers to be the result of infection of helicobacter Pylori or H. pylori,combined with the presence of stomach acid.

It can be diagnosed by blood test or stool examination. Many health professionals still believed that stress is the risk factor for peptic ulcer as it increases stomach production. Certain drugs and supplements also may increase acid production. Taking aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, especially over a long
period of time, can increase stomach acidity and lead to ulcers. Steroids, such as those taken for arthritis, can contribute to stomach ulcers. Having a family history of peptic ulcer disease also increase your risk, as does alcohol consumption. Heavy smokers are more prone to developing ulcers and have greater trouble getting ulcers to heal.

While prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs may temporarily relieve the symptoms of an ulcer, they do not get to the root of the problem, which is damaged tissue. They offer short-term relief by temporarily decreasing stomach acid. In the long run, they may make the problem worse because they create and an illusion that the ulcer had
been cured. They also disrupt the normal digestive process and alter the structure and functioning of the tissues that line the digestive tract.

Antacids are often recommended for people with an ulcer. If you must take antacids, avoid products containing aluminum, which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease. Maalox has been known to cause the gray film on the tongue in rare cases.

Discontinue use if this occurs. People who take Tagamet (cimetidine) or Zantac ( ranitidine) for ulcers must be cautious about ingesting alcohol. These drugs can magnify the effects of alcohol on the brain. With treatment, most peptic ulcers heal, but it may take eight weeks or longer for healing to be complete.

Physicians can locate a peptic ulcer with the use of two procedures: Upper G.I. Series, in which you drink a chalky barium liquid and have a series of x-rays taken of the stomach and duodenum and endoscopy, in which a physician inserts a thin lighted tube attached to a camera down through your throat and into the stomach
or duodenum.

The combination of two prescription drugs Prilosec and Biaxin- an antibiotic may be prescribed for people with H. pylori infection and duodenal ulcer. These drugs should not be used for an extended period of time, as they have known side
effects. GERD ( gastroesophageal reflux disease) and peptic ulcers cause very similar symptoms but GERD is both more common and, usually less serious than a peptic ulcer.

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