Q:

How are ulcers treated?

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Quick Answer

Mild to moderate ulcers are treated with medication; severe or recurrent ulcers or ulcers that do not respond to medication may need to be treated surgically. WebMD warns not to attempt treatment of ulcers without first consulting a physician.

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Full Answer

Although the treatment for ulcers depends on their cause, many ulcers are caused by H. pylori and can be treated using antibiotics and other medications that kill off the H. pylori bacterium. Generally, a 2-week course of antibiotics and a stomach acid reducer medication are prescribed.

Ulcers caused by stomach acid are sometimes treated with proton pump inhibitors, according to the Mayo Clinic. These medications block the production of acid and promote healing. Some of the most common are available over the counter, including Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix and Aciphex. It is worth noting that long-term use of these medications can put individuals at a reduced risk for spine, wrist and hip fractures.

Medicines that reduce the production of acid, including histamine blockers, are sometimes also recommended to treat ulcers. These include Zantac, Pepcid, Axid and Tagamet.

In some instances, medication that reduces the irritation of the lining of the stomach and the small intestine is required. This includes common remedies like Pepto Bismol, which is available over the counter, and prescription-only medications like Cytotec and Carafate.

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