That Pepto Probably Won’t Help Your Ulcer
- Posted on: Apr 15 2018
A peptic ulcer is a sore or lesion that develops in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum. Not long ago, it was assumed that ulcers were caused by a person being stressed out or simply eating too many spicy foods. People would gulp down Pepto Bismol and Maalox to try and cure their ulcers. While these solutions could temporarily calm down the acids in the stomach, they didn’t do a thing for the actual ulcer.
That’s because everyone didn’t have the right cause.
Fortunately, at Ogden Clinic GI at McKay, we know what is causing your ulcers and have the treatment options that will cure them.
What causes peptic ulcers?
Many a movie and TV show had characters under a great deal of stress showing the signs of ulcers. Guzzling bottles of pink Pepto and chewing handfuls of Tums was seen as common remedies for their ulcers.
Uh, no. Research began to point to something else, bacteria. Studies overturned the prevailing wisdom, showing that 90 percent of ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori, also known as H. pylori. These bacteria live in the lining of the stomach…nasty devils!
Ulcers form when digestive juices damage the walls of the stomach or the small intestine. This happens when the mucus layer becomes too thin or if your stomach starts producing too much acid. But this isn’t caused by stress.
It’s caused by the H. pylori bacteria. Around 50 percent of the population carries this bacteria around in our gut. Most people don’t develop ulcers, but in others, the bacteria raise the amount of acid, break down the mucus layer in the stomach (which is its protection), and irritate the digestive tract. How this passes from person to person isn’t clear, although there is some thinking that it can be passed by kissing and from drinking unclean food and water.
Other than the H. pylori bacteria, ulcers are also caused by taking aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These include ibuprofen and naproxen. Many people gulp these like candy, often exceeding the recommended dosage when they have a common ache. The problem is, NSAIDs block your body from making a chemical that helps protect the inner walls of your stomach and small intestine from stomach acid. Hello, ulcers. Acetaminophen doesn’t cause this.
Treating your ulcer
While ulcers can sometimes heal on their own, they need to be treated, or they will probably come back. If Dr. Gonzales believes the cause to be the H. pylori bacteria, he’ll prescribe a mix of antibiotics to take care of it. If the cause is NSAIDs, he’ll impress upon you the need to either stop taking so many of them or to switch to another pain reliever option.
Do you think you may have a peptic ulcer? Don’t hesitate to come in and see us at Ogden Clinic GI at McKay. We’ll fix what that bottle of Pepto won’t! Call us at 801.475.3680 to make your appointment.
Posted in: Peptic Ulcer Disease