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September 7, 2023/Daily Health Stories

What to Know about Peptic Ulcer Disease

Musician Bruce Springsteen is postponing his September shows after being diagnosed with peptic ulcer disease. A physician explains what that condition is and how it's treated.

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CLEVELAND – Famed musician Bruce Springsteen is postponing the remainder of his September shows after being diagnosed with peptic ulcer disease.

For some, the condition may be caused by a bacteria called H. pylori.

“The other major cause of peptic ulcer disease is drugs in the class called NSAIDS – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. So, things like Ibuprofen, naproxen, or even low-dose aspirin can cause peptic ulcers,” explains Scott Gabbard, MD, gastroenterology specialist for Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Gabbard said peptic ulcer disease occurs when open sores, or ulcers, form in the stomach or the first part of the small intestine.

It can often go undiagnosed since a person may not experience any symptoms.

However, when they do, they could have a burning or gnawing feeling in their stomach, bloating, heartburn, nausea or vomiting.

And in more severe cases, they could have dark or black stool due to bleeding.

When making a diagnosis, there are different tests available, including an endoscopy, breath test or stool test.

There are also many treatment options available.

“We have fantastic treatments for peptic ulcer disease. It’s incredibly responsive to therapy,” said Dr. Gabbard. “If you’re found to have H. pylori, then the treatment course is a 14-day course of antibiotics, plus an anti-blocking medicine, and that heals the majority of peptic ulcers due to H. pylori.”

Dr. Gabbard said for those who develop peptic ulcer disease from another cause, like using NSAIDS, then the course of treatment would be different, but it’s still just as effective.

Ultimately, he notes that it’s best to consult with your physician.

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