Q&A: Endoscopy for Ulcer?

by Todd Eisner Patient Expert

I just got back from a Caribbean cruise on which I went to the bathroom and had watery, black stools. I was rushed to St Maarten Hospital and had an endoscopy where I was told that I had an ulcer in my stomach but that I needed to have another endoscopy when I got back to the United States. If I had an ulcer, why do I need another endoscopy?

While this question is hard to answer without knowing more details, in general, all stomach ulcers need to be biopsied to rule out cancer, and then should be re-examined with an endoscopy to make sure the ulcer has healed. While you didn't give more history, ulcers in the stomach have many causes. They can be caused by medications such as aspirin, Advil, Motrin and Aleve. They can be caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, and also can be caused by smoking. At times, ulcers in the stomach can actually be cancerous, either carcinoma or lymphoma. The failure of an ulcer to heal can be a sign of cancer, and therefore the need to insure healing with a repeat endoscopy.

Todd Eisner
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Todd Eisner

Todd wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Digestive Health.