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Pediatric Peptic Ulcer


What is a 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.

What is the cause of peptic ulcers?

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.

What are the different types of peptic ulcers?

  • Duodenal ulcer (upper section of the small intestine)
  • Esophageal ulcer (esophagus)
  • Gastric ulcer (stomach)

What are the symptoms of a peptic ulcer?

Symptoms of a peptic ulcer may include:

How are peptic ulcers diagnosed?

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

How are peptic ulcers treated?

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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