Stomach ulcer

Description

Gastric ulcers also known as stomach ulcers are one of two types of ulcers that affect the stomach and small intestine. An ulcer can be defined as a break in the continuity of the skin or mucous lining due to multiple reasons such as acid overload, drug abuse, stress and infections. You have a peptic ulcer if you get open sores in the lining of your stomach or the upper part of the small intestine. That happens when your stomach acids etch away your digestive tracts protective layer of mucus. The stomach produces a strong acid to help digest food and protect against microbes. To protect the tissues of the body from this acid, it also secretes a thick layer of mucus.

Stomach ulcers are relatively easy to cure, but they can cause significant problems if left untreated. Having a support system that’s been there and understands is important. IBD Healthline is a free app for people that have faced conditions that can cause stomach ulcers.  They occur when the thick mucus layer that protects the stomach from harsh acid and digestive juices is reduced or broken down. It allows acid to digest the tissues and stomach lining, causing a stomach ulcer. Although spicy foods and stress don’t cause stomach ulcers, they can aggravate the underlying condition and make your symptoms worse.

Types of Stomach ulcer

  • Gastric ulcers
  • Esophageal ulcers
  • Duodenal ulcers

Symptoms for Stomach ulcer:

Although upper abdominal pain is the most common symptom, approximately 50% of people with stomach ulcers don’t experience this symptom at all.

  • The classic symptom of a stomach ulcer is indigestion, also called dyspepsia.
  • Changes in Appetite.
  • Burning upper abdominal pain particularly between meals, early in the morning, or after drinking orange juice, coffee.
  • Discomfort is usually relieved after taking antacids.
  • The indigestion of food.
  • Discomfort in the stomach area.
  • Tarry, black or bloody stools.
  • Feeling pain on touch is termed as tenderness.
  • Weight loss.
  • Bloating.
  • Heartburn.
  • pain may be relieved by eating, drinking or taking antacids.
  • Nausea or  vomiting.
  • Burping.
  • Early feeling of fullness.
  • Vomit blood.

Causes of Stomach ulcer:

Different factors can cause the lining of the stomach, the esophagus, and the small intestine to break down. These include:

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a type of bacteria that can cause a stomach infection and inflammation.
  • Frequent use of aspirin (Bayer), ibuprofen (Advil) and other anti-inflammatory drugs (risk associated with this behavior increases in women and people over the age of 60).
  • A class of painkillers called no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Excess stomach acidity or hyperacidity.
  • Use of some medicines, such as steroids and a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used to treat depression.
  • Stress.
  • Smoking.
  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Frequent steroid usage.
  • Stomach Cancer.

People can develop a stomach ulcer at any age, but they are much less common in children.

Diagnosis and Treatment                           

Doctors follow the symptoms of a stomach ulcer by asking questions about how the pain feels, Your doctor may also ask for a stool test or a breath test to find out whether the stomach ulcer is from H. pylori bacteria.

  • Endoscopy: A camera is inserted at the end of a long, thin, flexible tube to look at the gut lining. A biopsy may also be taken.
  • If you don’t have difficulty swallowing and have a low risk of stomach cancer, your doctor may recommend an upper GI test instead.
  • Barium enema: This is a thick liquid that allows X-rays to be taken of the gut.

Treatment                                                

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your ulcer. If tests show that you have an H. pylori infection, your doctor will prescribe a combination of medication. If the doctor thinks there is a stomach ulcer, they may try to remove the cause by:

  • The medications include antibiotics to help kill infections and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to help reduce stomach acid.
  • Changing the type of painkiller if the cause is thought to be NSAIDs.
  • Your doctor may also prescribe sucralfate (Carafate) which will coat your stomach and reduce symptoms of peptic ulcers.
  • Trying the “test-and-treat” approach if the cause is thought to be  pylori pylori bacteria.

In certain cases, surgery may be an option

  • Removing the ulcer.
  • Tying off bleeding blood vessels.
  • Sewing tissue from another site onto the ulcer.
  • Cutting the nerve that controls stomach acid production.

Prevention

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by quitting smoking cigarettes and other tobacco use and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help you prevent developing a peptic ulcer. Some helpful tips to prevent or allow healing of ulcers include: 

  • Avoid foods that irritate your stomach.
  • Not drinking more than two alcoholic beverages a day
  • Stop smoking.
  • Practice moderation. Heavy consumption of alcohol and has been shown to contribute to the development of ulcers, so keep your intake to a minimum. 
  • Not mixing alcohol with medication.
  • Take no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS including aspirin and ibuprofen) with food.
  • Learn how to control your stress levels. Regular exercise and mind-body relaxation techniques.
  • washing your hands frequently to avoid infections.
  • Control your stress levels.

Hope this Symptoms and cure article will be helpful to all. Do not forget to share your valuable suggestions if any.

 

 

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