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Pediatric Peptic Ulcer



A pediatric peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or the upper part of the intestine (duodenum). The ulcer develops when stomach acid damages the walls of the stomach or duodenum.


The most common cause of a peptic ulcer in children is an infection by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (also known as H pylori). Peptic ulcers can also be the result of long-term use of certain over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.


Symptoms of a peptic ulcer may include:

  • A burning pain in the stomach that comes and goes
  • Stomach pain that starts when the stomach is empty and goes away after eating
  • Bloating
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss

Tests and Diagnosis

There are several tests to diagnose peptic ulcers. A doctor will go over your child's medical history and perform a physical exam. Your healthcare provider may also perform one or more of the following

  • A blood test that detects H. Pylori antibodies in your child's immune system
  • A stool test that detects traces of H Pylori in your child's feces
  • A breath test, in which your child swallows a special substance called urea that breaks down protein. If H pylori are present, they will convert the urea to carbon dioxide, which can then be detected in your child's breath. A breath test is the most accurate way to detect H pylori
  • X-rays (upper GI series)
  • EGD, a test during which a thin tube with a camera on the end is inserted through your child’s mouth, then passed into the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine


The cause of your child's peptic ulcer determines the treatment. Your healthcare provider may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Antibiotics to eliminate the H Pylori
  • Antacids to neutralize stomach acid
  • H-2 blockers to regulate the amount of acid that is released in the stomach
  • Proton pump inhibitors, which decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach


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