How is an Ulcer diagnosed?

Ulcers can be diagnosed using a variety of tests and procedures, including:

  • Physical exam: A healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and ask about symptoms, medical history, and medications you are taking.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests can check for anemia, which can be a sign of blood loss from an ulcer, and to check for H. pylori infection.
  • Breath test: A breath test can check for H. pylori infection. The patient will be asked to drink a liquid that contains a small amount of radioactive carbon, and then breathe into a bag. H. pylori infection will be detected if the breath sample contains elevated levels of radioactive carbon.
  • Upper endoscopy: A small camera is inserted through the mouth and into the stomach and duodenum to look for ulcers. Biopsies can also be taken during this procedure to confirm the diagnosis of an ulcer.
  • X-ray: A barium swallow X-ray can be done to check for ulcers in the stomach or small intestine. The patient drinks a chalky liquid that coats the stomach and small intestine, making them visible on X-ray.
  • CT scan or MRI: These imaging tests can be used to check for ulcers that are not visible on X-ray.

It is important to consult with a healthcare provider if you experience symptoms that could be indicative of an ulcer, to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment.

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