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Peptic Ulcer & Gastritis in Singapore | Symptoms & Costs

Did you know that it is not uncommon to have digestive problems such as peptic ulcers and gastritis in Singapore? 

You could be experiencing chronic vomiting, abdominal discomfort, burning sensation within the heart or upper abdomen, etc. And these are only some of the commonly known symptoms of it. 

It is common for most people to turn to home remedies or over-the-counter (OTC) purchased medication for temporary relief but it may lead to undesirable consequences if it is actually a symptom of a more severe gastrointestinal condition such as peptic ulcer disease or gastritis.

Although it’s possible that symptoms are linked to other minor digestive issues rather than a potentially fatal illness. Most medical experts advise that if the symptoms of peptic ulcers or gastritis in Singapore persist, one should not delay consulting a general practitioner or specialist. Read on to find out more about the procedures & gastroscopy cost in Singapore.

Peptic Ulcer Disease (Stomach Ulcers)

Peptic Ulcer

Peptic ulcer disease is a common condition in Singapore. Peptic ulcers refer to open sores that develop in the lining of the stomach, upper small intestine (duodenum), or the oesophagus. While most of our digestive tract is alkaline, the stomach and duodenum secrete powerful hydrochloric acid. 

This acid is essential in killing bacteria as well as digesting the food we eat. Hence, these organs are lined with a thick layer of mucus to protect against digestive acid. 

However, in patients who suffer from peptic ulcer disease, the thick layer of mucus lining their gastrointestinal tract is reduced, resulting in digestive acids eating away at the tissues lining the tract and causing ulcer formation. Left untreated, peptic ulcers can lead to serious complications, including bleeding in the stomach and perforation (tear) of the stomach wall. 

Peptic ulcers can also be a result of bacterial infection, alcohol and smoking, as well as taking NSAIDs for a prolonged period.

Signs And Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers

The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is burning or aching pain in the centre of the abdomen. But stomach ulcers are not always painful and some people may experience other symptoms, such as indigestion, heartburn and nausea. These symptoms are often related to the timing and type of food intake.

Causes Of Stomach Ulcers And Who Can Be Affected

Stomach ulcers occur when the mucous layer that protects the stomach lining from stomach acid breaks down, which allows the stomach lining to become damaged.

This is usually a result of:

  • An Infection With Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) Bacteria
  • Alcohol And Smoking
  • Taking Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin – especially if taken for a long time or at high doses

It used to be thought that stress or certain foods might cause stomach ulcers, but there is little evidence to support this. Stomach ulcers can affect people of any age, including children, but mostly occur in people aged 60 or over. Men are more commonly affected than women.

The Gold Standard Test For Peptic Ulcer Disease (Stomach Ulcers)

The Gold standard for investigating the oesophagus/stomach and duodenum is Gastroscopy. 

A gastroscopy is a procedure where a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope is used to look in the upper digestive tract which consists of the oesophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine (duodenum). The gastroscope has a light and a camera at one end. The camera sends images of the inside of your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum to a monitor. 

It can both diagnose and treat stomach conditions therefore it is both diagnostic and therapeutic. During the gastroscopy, biopsies can be taken to confirm the diagnosis and to confirm the presence of H. pylori (CLO test).

To find out more about the procedures and gastroscopy cost in Singapore, kindly make an appointment with us or contact us, we will get back to you as soon as possible. We will also provide a detailed cost breakdown should you need to undergo a gastroscopy.

Treatment Of Peptic Ulcer Disease (Stomach Ulcers)

Most stomach ulcers will heal within 6 weeks with adequate treatment.

Most people will be prescribed a medication called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to reduce the amount of acid their stomach produces and allow the ulcer to heal naturally. 

Common PPIs include Omeprazole, Rabeprazole, Lansoprazole, Pantoprazole and Esomeprazole. All PPIs are effective in treating ulcers but vary in costs/dose/efficacy.

If an H. pylori infection is responsible for the ulcers, treatment comprising of 2 different antibiotics and a PPI (3 drugs in total) for 2 weeks is given. This is known as Triple therapy. Triple therapy is up to 90% effective in eradicating the H pylori infection. 

Hence 10% of patients fail treatment. To confirm successful eradication of H. pylori infection, a Urea Breath Test (UBT) is done about 4 weeks after triple therapy to confirm successful treatment.

If the ulcers are caused by the use of NSAIDs, PPIs are usually prescribed and your doctor will discuss whether you should keep using NSAIDs.

Stomach ulcers can come back after treatment, although this is less likely to happen if the underlying cause is addressed. Hence, quitting alcohol and smoking are also necessary.

Possible Complications Of Peptic Ulcer Disease (Stomach Ulcers)

Complications of stomach ulcers are relatively uncommon, but they can be very serious and potentially life-threatening.

The main complications include:

  • Bleeding at the ulcer
  • Malignant Change (ulcer turning to cancer)
  • Perforation (hole in the stomach)
  • Gastric Outlet Obstruction (ulcer causing blockage)


Gastritis in Singapore is one of the other commonly known digestive system problems and is also often associated with stomach ulcers. Gastritis also refers to the inflammation of the stomach lining, usually the result of infection  (Helicobacter Pylori) that causes stomach ulcers. 

It may slowly occur over time and last for a few months(chronic gastritis). In some cases, it may also happen suddenly with repetitive recurrence of attacks within a day (acute gastritis). 

If left untreated may lead to severe conditions such as stomach ulcers or even stomach cancer. Hence, it is essential to consult with medical experts to find out more about your condition.

Signs And Symptoms Of Gastritis

The most common sign of gastritis in Singapore is abdominal pains, indigestion pain, black stools, nausea, weight loss and appetite loss. Sometimes bloating, belching, hiccups and burping may occur too. 

It is also worth noting that gastritis may not always produce such symptoms. Hence, it is always right to consult a doctor immediately or specialist if you feel unwell to determine the cause right away.

Causes Of Gastritis

As gastritis is a result of inflammation within the stomach lining. Anything that compromises the mucus-line barrier that protects your stomach will risk the flow of digestive juices coming into contact with your stomach lining, resulting in inflammation. Several reasons lead to gastritis, including:

  • An Infection With Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) Bacteria
  • Overconsumption Of Alcohol / Smoking
  • Use Of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Extreme Stress

Testing For Gastritis In Singapore

Testing for gastritis is commonly done through blood tests, stool samples and endoscopy. Blood tests are carried out to test for H. pylori bacteria within your stomach and stool samples to check for H. pylori bacteria potentially causing gastritis. Sometimes, blood within your stools can be signs of gastritis as well. For more severe cases, an endoscopy will be recommended. 

It is a procedure where a thin, flexible, lighted tube (endoscope) is inserted through your mouth and throat to look at the insides of your stomach. It can diagnose your stomach conditions or take a small tissue sample (biopsy) to determine the diagnosis.

Treatment For Gastritis In Singapore

Gastritis can be treated or improved if discovered earlier. In most cases, it also depends on an individual’s current age and health conditions. It will take about 6 weeks to recover with adequate treatment and medication. You will be prescribed medications to aid with the discomfort, such as painkillers, acid control medications (to neutralise acid levels within the stomach) or stomach antibiotics (for H. pylori bacteria infection).

Possible Complications Of Gastritis

Gastritis is left untreated may lead to stomach ulcers and other severe complications such as stomach bleeding, gastric polyps or even stomach cancer.

How We Can Help With Stomach Ulcers And Gastritis In Singapore

Dr QM Leong is an experienced colorectal doctor with relevant medical specialities, who will accurately diagnose your condition for any signs or common symptoms of stomach ulcers or gastritis before determining the ideal treatment for your condition. 

He also specialises in the diagnosis of other colorectal-related diseases like colon cancer, haemorrhoids, anal fistulas, diverticulitis, and other abnormal changes in bowel habits.

We are fully committed to providing a pleasant experience, treatment and patient care, so do not hesitate to call to find out about the surgical procedures or gastroscopy cost in Singapore or make an appointment with us to understand more about gastritis in Singapore.