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Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Peptic Ulcer Disease

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You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with peptic ulcers. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and ask questions you might not have thought to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Peptic Ulcers

  • What might have caused my peptic ulcer?
  • How might I have come into contact with Helicobacter pylori ?
  • Should we be taking any special precautions to prevent other family members from contracting H. pylori ?

About Your Risk of Developing Peptic Ulcers

  • Could my ulcer recur?
  • How can I tell if my ulcer is recurring?
  • What can I do to lower my risk of developing a peptic ulcer?
  • What can I do to lower my risk of recurrence?
  • I’m using a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Is there anything I can do to decrease my risk of developing a peptic ulcer?

About Treatment Options

  • Will I need an antibiotic?
  • Should I take more than one antibiotic?
  • What other medications will I need?
  • Will I need any surgical procedures?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Should I stop smoking?
  • What smoking cessation programs might be helpful?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol?

About Outlook

  • What is the chance that I’ll develop a complication?
  • What is the chance that my ulcer will recur?
  • What is the chance that I could develop gastric cancer?

References:

H. pylori and peptic ulcers. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hpylori/index.aspx . Updated April 30, 2012. Accessed April 29, 2013.

Meurer LN, Bower DJ. Management of helicobacter pylori infection. Am Fam Physician . 2002;65(7):1327-36.

Peptic ulcer disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated April 22, 2013. Accessed April 29, 2013.

Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html . Updated November 2010. Accessed April 29, 2013

Understanding peptic ulcer disease. American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/peptic-ulcer-disease . Published April 23, 2010. Accessed April 29, 2013.



Last reviewed April 2013 by Daus Mahnke, MD; Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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