Gastric, duodenal or peptic ulcer is a chronic disease characterized by the formation of ulcerations in the stomach or duodenal wall. The bacterium [Helicobacter pylori] is an important cause of peptic ulcers. It can occur in contaminated drinking water.
Research shows that curing an ulcer takes less time and costs less than one-tenth the amount of treating it over a lifetime. The most extreme treatment, vagotomy or ulcer surgery, costs approximately US$17,000 and requires 307 days of treatment over a 15-year period. Maintenance therapy with medications to block acid production costs approximately $11,000 and requires 187 days of treatment over 15 years. This approach merely treats the symptoms rather than curing the ulcer. Antibiotic therapy takes 17 days and costs less than $1,000. In 90 percent of patients, the ulcer is cured and does not recur.
In 95 percent of cases, treatment with antibiotics of the bacterium [Helicobacter pylori] will prevent the formation of duodenal ulcers. Antibiotic treatment has the added advantage that it prevents recurrence, unlike many of the more expensive drug treatments currently used.