During stressful times, abdominal pain or other abdominal symptoms are not uncommon. Although psychological factors may trigger abdominal discomfort, these symptoms are also characteristic of ulcer disease. After evaluating your symptoms, your physician can provide treatment to lessen or completely relieve your discomfort and antacids such as Maalox may be part of that treatment.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
After taking a thorough history and performing a physical examination, your physician will likely ask a specialist to help with your evaluation. The specialist may be a surgeon or gastroenterologist skilled in diagnostic evaluation.
After taking a thorough history and performing a physical examination, your physician will likely ask a specialist to help with your evaluation. The specialist may be a surgeon or gastroenterologist skilled in diagnostic evaluation. The specialist may perform a breath or blood test looking for Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium commonly associated with ulcer disease and stomach cancer. Usually this is followed by a gastroscopy, also known as an endoscopy. Under mild sedation, your physician will insert a small camera into your mouth and pass it to your stomach, looking for an ulcer or other causes of your abdominal pain. A small tissue biopsy will also usually be taken. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes.
If an ulcer is diagnosed, several treatment options are available.
Ulcer disease, if caused by Helicobacter pylori, can usually be treated successfully with a one-week course of medication. If your ulcer disease has no known cause, treatment can be started with either an antacid or a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors.
Antacids, such as Maalox, neutralize stomach acid, are inexpensive and easy to take and are highly effective at relieving symptoms. Maalox contains aluminium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide, which help to neutralize acid. Although antacids may be associated with mild side effects, they are safe when used under a physician's guidance.
Proton pump inhibitors which greatly reduce or stop the release of stomach acid, are also effective, but are expensive and often require a prescription. You should be monitored by your doctor while taking medication for ulcer disease.
Alleviate the discomfort associated with ulcer pain by cutting acidic foods and beverages such as fruit, coffee and chocolate from your diet. Avoid smoking cigarettes and get plenty of exercise and sleep. Try to take time for relaxation.
Dr. Hoffman does not endorse any products seen on this website.
- kaspiic/iStock/Getty Images