Antibiotics for Ulcers
Do you battle stomach pain? You may be wondering if you have an ulcer. What are the symptoms of an ulcer? What causes ulcers? Can you use antibiotics for ulcers? Here are some facts about ulcers.
What is an ulcer?
A peptic ulcer is an open sore that affects either the stomach (called a gastric ulcer) or the upper portion of your small intestine (called a duodenal ulcer).
Your stomach ordinarily has a layer of mucus protecting it from stomach acid. If that mucus becomes reduced, the acid can eat holes and cause sores in your stomach or small intestine.
Causes of ulcers
Contrary to popular belief, ulcers are not caused by stress or spicy foods, although those things can make existing ulcers feel worse. The main causes of ulcers are:
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria. This bacteria can cause inflammation of the stomach lining, which leads to an ulcer. Scientists aren’t quite sure how H. pylori spreads; it may be through close contact, like kissing, or through food and water.
- Regular use of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These drugs include ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).
- Combining NSAIDs with other medications. Certain medications increase your risk of developing an ulcer if combined with NSAIDs. These medications include steroids, anticoagulants, low-dose aspirin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), alendronate (Fosamax), and risedronate (Actonel).
Symptoms of ulcers
Symptoms of ulcers include:
- Stomach pain that is dull or burns
- Feeling of fullness, bloating, belching
- Not wanting to eat due to pain
- Intolerance to fatty foods
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Anemia (symptoms can include tiredness, shortness of breath, or paler skin)
- Vomiting, sometimes with blood, which may look red or black
- Black, tarry stools or dark blood in stool
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling faint
- Appetite change
- Unexpected weight loss
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Without treatment, ulcers can result in complications like:
- Internal bleeding
- Obstruction of the GI tract
Treatment for ulcers
Treatment for ulcers depends on what is causing the ulcer and how severe it is. Treatment may include:
- Antibiotics for ulcers caused by the H. pylori bacteria
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) which prevent stomach cells from producing acid
- Probiotics useful bacteria that may have a role in killing off H. pylori
- Bismuth supplement
- Stopping NSAID use
- Surgery for severe ulcers that won’t heal
- Healthy diet including plenty of fruits, vegetable, and fiber
- Stop smoking since smoking increases stomach acid
- Limit alcohol intake because alcohol can erode the mucous lining of your stomach and intestines
Antibiotics for ulcers
Antibiotics are useful for ulcers caused by H. pylori bacteria. Examples of antibiotics for ulcers include:
- Amoxicillin (Amoxil)
- Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
- Metronidazole (Flagyl)
- Tinidazole (Tindamax)
- Tetracycline (Tetracycline HCL)
- Levofloxacin (Levaquin)