Thank you for visiting Gastro IQ.
We have recently merged with Eastern Gastroenterology where we continue to provide
high quality care to patients with a range of digestive health issues.
Please visit us at or call 03 9895 7628 for all appointments and endoscopy enquiries.


2023年4月20日起,Gastro IQ 将与Eastern Gastroenterology 合并。详见以下新地址及联络方式:
Epworth Eastern East Wing Tower, Level 9.4, 25 Nelson Road, 3128, Box Hill
电话: 03 9895 7628 传真:03 9454 9330 email:

Stomach Ulcers

What is it?

Stomach (“peptic”) ulcers are localised areas of damage to the lining of the stomach that resemble small craters. While ulcers are most commonly found in the stomach they also frequently occur in the duodenum (start of the small bowel) .

What causes it?

While in the past we believed stress was the cause of stomach ulcers, we now know there are two main causes:

(i) A long-term infection with the ‘Helicobacter pylori’ bacteria can cause widespread damage, or inflammation, to the lining of the stomach. This damage can progress over time to form an ulcer. This was an Australian discovery in which Dr. Barry Marshall and Dr. Robin Warren from Perth first showed that H. pylori causes ulcers. They won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2005 in recognition of this discovery.

(ii) The second most common cause of stomach ulcers is overuse of anti-inflammatory medications. These medications (eg. aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac) have the unwanted side effect of impairing the way the stomach protects itself against gastric acid

Additional risk factors for ulcers include: older age, using steroid medication, , blood-thinning medications, smoking, autoimmune diseases, viral infections and having another chronic health condition.

What are the symptoms?

While stomach ulcers can cause symptoms they are also frequently ‘asymptomatic’ meaning that a person may not be aware they have an ulcer. When symptoms are present they usually include upper abdominal pain / discomfort, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite and loss of weight.

The most serious complications of ulcers are:

(i) Bleeding

this usually presents with a patient vomiting blood-stained stomach contents or passing a black tar-like bowel motion (melaena).

(ii) Perforation (a hole in the stomach)

this usually results in severe stomach pain and the patient becoming extremely unwell.
Both complications can be life threatening and require emergency treatment in hospital.

How do you diagnose?

Stomach ulcers are best diagnosed during a gastroscopy. During the procedure tiny accessories can be passed down the camera’s operating channel to take biopsies of the stomach and/or treat the ulcer if required.

What are the treatments?

Stomach ulcers that have not caused bleeding or a perforation can be successfully treated by:

(i) removing the underlying cause i.e. stopping anti-inflammatory medications or treating helicobacter pylori infection
(ii) taking an ‘acid suppressing’ medication for 4-8 weeks which allows the lining of the stomach to heal without further damage. Dietary changes can also enhance the healing process and help minimize the need for medication in the long-term.

It is important that a follow up gastroscopy be performed to check that a stomach ulcer has healed completely and that there is not an alternative factor contributing to the ulcer.

Bleeding ulcers can be treated with a variety of techniques including: lasers (Argon), clips, endoscopic sutures, pro-coagulant powders, local adrenaline injections, and/or gold probe thermal therapy.

For patients who require long term aspirin or another anti-inflammatory medication an ‘acid suppressing’ medication is sometimes co-prescribed to prevent further ulcers.