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Alcoholism and Ulcer
July 2001

Q. My father is an alcoholic, and this past September or October he began throwing up blood and was treated for a bleeding ulcer. The doctor told him if he wanted to die quickly to begin drinking again. In January he slowly began drinking again. He is more of a binge drinking type of alcoholic. He will drink steadily, also increasing steadily for a couple weeks and then stop for a week or two. Then he will begin again. I would like to know, since the bleeding ulcer has already been there will it quickly act up again? Or will it be a slow process? Can you give me any information about this? I am really at a loss as to what to expect.

A. Your father is indeed at serious risk of re-bleeding, and this condition is a life-threatening condition. In the hospital he was likely treated with strong medication to reduce stomach acid and allow healing to proceed, and the same medication was likely given in pill form when he left the hospital. If he continues to drink, there is no guarantee that the medicine will protect him. In addition to the medical treatment for the ulcer, serious efforts to treat the alcoholism are vital. His doctor can help in all regards!





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