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Reducing Your Risk of Peptic Ulcer Disease
by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Practice Good Hygiene
Since peptic ulcers are sometimes caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori, you should follow hygienic practice to decrease your risk of becoming infected. Be sure to:
Smoking has been associated with the development of peptic ulcers because ulcers that do form are slower to heal. If you are a smoker, talk with your doctor about programs that can help you quit.
Moderate Alcohol Intake
Overuse of alcohol, especially in combination with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or smoking, is associated with an increased risk of peptic ulcers. Nonsteroidal drugs are definitely proven causes of ulcers, but the causal role of alcohol remains somewhat uncertain, especially in combination with smoking. Smoking and drinking increase inflammation and acid production, which may put you at risk for an ulcer. If you can’t stop drinking on your own, contact your doctor for help and support.
Only Use NSAIDs if necessary
If you need to use pain medications, your doctor may recommend using something other than an NSAID. Try not to take NSAIDs on a regular basis, Instead, only use them when necessary and as directed. Take the lowest dose possible to to get the desired effect.
Ask About Protective Medications
If you have a medical condition that requires you to take large doses of NSAIDs, ask your doctor about using medications like sodium sucralfate, omeprazole, or misoprostol to help protect your stomach against ulcers.
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Peptic ulcer disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated May 11, 2015. Accessed January 12, 2017.
Peptic ulcer disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
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Updated May 2014. Accessed January 12, 2017.
Peptic ulcers (stomach ulcers). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/peptic-ulcers-stomach-ulcers/all-content. Updated November 2014. Accessed January 12, 2017.
Last reviewed December 2016 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 5/20/2015
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