In order to detect an ulcer, you may have to undergo diagnostic tests, such as:
Tests for H. pylori
Your doctor may recommend tests to determine whether the bacterium H. pylori is present in your body. Tests can test for H. pylori using your:
Which type of test you undergo depends on your situation.
For the breath test, you drink or eat something that contains radioactive carbon. H. pylori breaks down the substance in your stomach. Later, you blow into a bag, which is then sealed. If you're infected with H. pylori, your breath sample will contain the radioactive carbon in the form of carbon dioxide.
Using a scope to examine your upper digestive system (endoscopy)
During endoscopy, your doctor passes a hollow tube equipped with a lens (endoscope) down your throat and into your esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Using the endoscope, your doctor looks for ulcers.
If your doctor detects an ulcer, small tissue samples (biopsy) may be removed for examination in a lab. A biopsy can also identify the presence of H. pylori in your stomach lining.
Your doctor is more likely to recommend endoscopy if you are older, have signs of bleeding, or have experienced recent weight loss or difficulty eating and swallowing.
X-ray of your upper digestive system
Sometimes called a barium swallow or upper gastrointestinal series, this series of X-rays creates images of your esophagus, stomach and small intestine. During the X-ray, you swallow a white liquid (containing barium) that coats your digestive tract and makes an ulcer more visible.
July 26, 2013
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed June 6, 2013.
- American College of Gastroenterology guidelines on the management of Helicobacter pylori infection. Bethesda, M.D.: American College of Gastroenterology. http://gi.org/guideline/management-of-helicobacter-pylori-infection. Accessed June 6, 2013.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-2/0/1494/0.html. Accessed June 6, 2013.
- H. pylori and peptic ulcers. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hpylori/index.htm. Accessed June 6, 2013.
- NSAIDs and peptic ulcers. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/nsaids/index.htm. Accessed June 6, 2013.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. June 14, 2013.
- Potassium. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 21, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.