According to the National Institutes of Health, a stomach ulcer is a sore that develops in the lining of the stomach. The most common symptom is a burning pain in the area. The pain often comes and goes over the course of several weeks, and it tends to be most severe when you are hungry. Fortunately, stomach ulcers can be cured with medication, and there are also ways to prevent them from returning.
According to the Family Doctor website, curing stomach ulcers requires three things. First, the treatment must eliminate the H. pylori bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. Second, it must lower the amount of acid produced by the stomach or neutralize the acid so the affected area can heal. Third, the patient must refrain from doing things that can damage his digestive tract lining, such as drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes.
Stomach ulcers are often cured with that the Family Doctor site calls triple therapy. The patient takes a combination of two different antibiotics to get rid of the H. pylori bacteria. The third part of the treatment is to take bismuth subsalicylate, which can be purchased over the counter under brand names such as Pepto-Bismol.
Even though triple therapy will cure an ulcer on its own, adding an acid blocker or neutralizer can speed up the healing process. These medications protect the injured area of the stomach so it can heal. Family Doctor says that common drugs to accomplish this include H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors. Sucralfate may also be used to coat the ulcer and promote its healing.
Family Doctor says that once treatment has started, the H. pylori bacteria can usually be wiped out in two to three weeks. Acid reducing medication should be taken for up to eight weeks to make sure the ulcer has adequate time to heal completely. The National Institutes of Health says that patients should also avoid spicy foods and stress during the healing process. Although they do not actually cause ulcers, they can make them worse.
Once a patient has had an ulcer, her doctor may recommend a medication called misoprostol to keep it from returning. This drug is also used for people who must take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) that can trigger ulcers. According to the National Institutes of Health, these drugs include common pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen.