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Maalox and Ulcers

by
author image Gary H. Hoffman M.D.
Doctor Hoffman is an experienced colon and rectal surgeon and general surgeon, with 28 years of experience. He is an attending surgeon at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and an instructor in the divisions of colon and rectal surgery and general surgery. Doctor Hoffman is widely published in peer-reviewed publications such as “Diseases of the Colon and Rectum,” “Surgical Rounds” and “American Surgeon.” He is an Editor and frequent contributor to General Surgery News. Dr. Hoffman is a pioneer in the use of the procedure for prolapse and hemorrhoids (PPH), an alternative hemorrhoidal operation which has been demonstrated to result in less postoperative pain and a faster return to work or to the activities of daily living. In his research he has confirmed the superiority of PPH when compared with traditional hemorrhoidectomy. He is actively involved in research to further streamline the procedure and improve the instrumentation. Doctor Hoffman has interests in genetics and hereditary colorectal cancer as well as anal cancer and advances techniques in colonoscopy. Dr. Hoffman is a member of The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, The Southern California Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, The American College of Surgeons and The American Medical Association.
Maalox and Ulcers
Man gripping his stomach in pain Photo Credit kaspiic/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

During stressful times, abdominal pain or other abdominal symptoms are not uncommon. Although psychological factors may trigger abdominal discomfort, these symptoms are also characteristic of ulcer disease. After evaluating your symptoms, your physician can provide treatment to lessen or completely relieve your discomfort and antacids such as Maalox may be part of that treatment.

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Diagnosis

After taking a thorough history and performing a physical examination, your physician will likely ask a specialist to help with your evaluation. The specialist may be a surgeon or gastroenterologist skilled in diagnostic evaluation.

After taking a thorough history and performing a physical examination, your physician will likely ask a specialist to help with your evaluation. The specialist may be a surgeon or gastroenterologist skilled in diagnostic evaluation.

The specialist may perform a breath or blood test looking for Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium commonly associated with ulcer disease and stomach cancer. Usually this is followed by a gastroscopy, also known as an endoscopy. Under mild sedation, your physician will insert a small camera into your mouth and pass it to your stomach, looking for an ulcer or other causes of your abdominal pain. A small tissue biopsy will also usually be taken. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes.

Treatment

If an ulcer is diagnosed, several treatment options are available.

Ulcer disease, if caused by Helicobacter pylori, can usually be treated successfully with a one-week course of medication. If your ulcer disease has no known cause, treatment can be started with either an antacid or a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors.

Antacids, such as Maalox, neutralize stomach acid, are inexpensive and easy to take and are highly effective at relieving symptoms. Maalox contains aluminium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide, which help to neutralize acid. Although antacids may be associated with mild side effects, they are safe when used under a physician's guidance.

Proton pump inhibitors which greatly reduce or stop the release of stomach acid, are also effective, but are expensive and often require a prescription. You should be monitored by your doctor while taking medication for ulcer disease.

Other Tips

Alleviate the discomfort associated with ulcer pain by cutting acidic foods and beverages such as fruit, coffee and chocolate from your diet. Avoid smoking cigarettes and get plenty of exercise and sleep. Try to take time for relaxation.

Disclaimer

Dr. Hoffman does not endorse any products seen on this website.

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