Most ulcers heal. This is especially true since the introduction of
proton pump inhibitors, the ability to
test for and cure Helicobacter pylori infections, and
efforts to lower the ulcer risk from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDs). But some
peptic ulcers do not heal (intractable ulcers).
Healing is more difficult if you are taking NSAIDs, including aspirin. If your ulcer is
not healing, your doctor may have you stop using these medicines.
In rare cases, surgery may be needed if an ulcer does not heal.
But some people who have this surgery continue to have ulcer symptoms even
though they no longer have an ulcer. The continuing symptoms probably are
caused by the stomach and small intestine becoming more sensitive. The cause of
this sensitivity or irritability is often hard to find. Additional surgery
often makes the problem worse. A detailed exam by a specialist usually is
needed to find a cause and begin an effective treatment for these
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.