Most stomach ulcers heal usually within 4–8 weeks, but larger ulcers may take up to 12 weeks. The cause and size of the ulcer will also influence recovery time.
Stomach ulcers are sores in the stomach lining or small intestines. Doctors treat stomach ulcers with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications.
The recovery time may vary depending on the cause of the ulcer, the specific treatment, and other complications that may arise.
Read on to learn more about the average recovery time of a stomach ulcer and factors that may affect recovery.
Although most stomach ulcers heal with treatment, there may be factors that delay recovery. Anecdotal evidence suggests the following may
- the age of a person
- the cause of the ulcer — the
most commoninclude Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use
- the size of the ulcer
- the location of the ulcer
- if the ulcer has not responded to treatment
Complications that may arise which further delay recovery time include:
While it may be difficult for a person to know if a stomach ulcer is healing, anecdotal evidence suggests reduced pain may be a good indication they are recovering. However, not all stomach ulcers are painful.
Other symptoms may subside during healing such as:
- improved digestion
- less feelings of nausea
- no heartburn
Medical diagnosis and monitoring
If a person wants to determine if their stomach ulcer is healing or fully healed, they can consult a doctor for advice.
Similarly, in order to confirm ulcer healing, doctors
Experts recommend taking the correct medication doses
Doctors also recommend certain lifestyle changes, for example, smoking may slow healing. Similarly, alcohol misuse may further
People should attend all routine appointments and follow all medical guidelines and advice to help with recovery.
Treatment for stomach ulcers depends on the cause. Doctors treat the underlying causes of stomach ulcers with specific medications. This helps the ulcers heal and prevents them from coming back.
General medical guidelines for stomach ulcers include:
Treating a H. pylori infection
Doctors treat H. pylori infection with several medications,
- two antibiotics to kill the bacteria
- a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), which reduces acid production, preventing further damage to the ulcer as it heals naturally, such as:
- bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
Stopping or changing NSAIDs
If NSAIDs have caused the stomach ulcer, doctors may recommend modifications, such as:
- changing the NSAID
- reducing the dose
- stopping NSAIDs altogether
- alternative pain medications such as PPIs
Changing lifestyle habits
While medication can treat an ulcer, changing certain lifestyle habits may also help. For example, a person can avoid certain foods, such as acidic foods, that may irritate an ulcer.
Taking other medications
Doctors may also recommend taking antacid medication to neutralize stomach acid and help relieve symptoms of a stomach ulcer.
A person should contact a doctor if they have persistent symptoms of a stomach ulcer before, during, or after treatment. They should seek immediate medical attention if they develop signs of a serious complication, including:
Stomach ulcers tend to heal within 1–2 months of a person starting treatment.
However, some people may find the ulcer takes longer to heal. This may result from biological factors such as the size of the ulcer or causes, or it may relate to possible complications that have developed, such as bleeding or perforation.
In order to speed up the healing process, people should take all doses of medications doctors prescribe, and avoid smoking and drinking. General treatment guidelines may include antibiotics, PPIs, H2-blockers, or antacids.
If a person experiences blood in vomit or sticky stool they should consult a doctor immediately as these may be possible complications of stomach ulcers.