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Gastric (Stomach) Ulcer
This 71 year old woman developed pain and stiffness in her hands and elbows over the past few years. The symptoms gradually worsened and she saw her doctor and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. There is no cure for this degenerative condition, so her doctor prescribed exercise, warm soaks, and an anti-inflamatory drug called Naprosyn to relieve the pain and stiffness. This program worked well for her. However, about 4 months later, she developed a pain in her upper mid-abdomen, just above her belly button. The pain got better for a while when she ate a meal or took Tums, but did not go away. When she began waking up at night with the same pain, she saw her doctor again and was referred to our center for a gastroscopy examination.

In this short video clip, you can see a typical gastric, or stomach, ulcer. Note the healthy pink lining of her stomach. The ulcer is the white area on the right side of the screen. Note that it has depth much like a small crater. Some gastric ulcers are cancer, but this ulcer was biopsied and no cancer was found. Tests for Helicobacter pylori, the "ulcer bacteria" were normal. It was felt that this ulcer was a side effect of her Naprosyn therapy. Naprosyn was stopped and she was begun on a less damaging arthritis pill. In addition, Prevacid was prescribed to heal the ulcer. A repeat gastroscopy exam 6 weeks later was normal and she was free of both her arthritis and ulcer pain.

Naproxyn and many other pain medications used to treat arthritis can cause stomach ulcers. These include drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, Aleve, Anaprox, Clinoril, Dolobid, Feldene, Indocin, Lodine, Nalfon, Naproxyn, Orudis, Relafen, Tolectin, Toradol, Volteran, and many others. These medications damage the mucus layer of the digestive tract, thus allowing acid to come in contact with the delicate lining below. Two new arthritis medications, Celebrex and Vioxx, seem to have a lower risk of ulcers. More information about ulcers can be found here.

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Gastric (Stomach) Ulcer


Text & Images Courtesy of Three Rivers Endoscopy Center
© Dr. Robert Fusco, Three Rivers Endoscopy Center, All Rights Reserved

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