How Are Stomach Ulcers Diagnosed
Diagnosis and treatment will depend on your symptoms and the severity of your ulcer. To diagnose a stomach ulcer, your doctor will review your medical history along with your symptoms and any prescription or over-the-counter medications youre taking.
To rule out H. pylori infection, a blood, stool, or breath test may be ordered. With a breath test, youll be instructed to drink a clear liquid and breathe into a bag, which is then sealed. If H. pylori is present, the breath sample will contain higher-than-normal levels of carbon dioxide.
Other tests and procedures used to diagnose stomach ulcers include:
- Barium swallow: You drink a thick white liquid that coats your upper gastrointestinal tract and helps your doctor see your stomach and small intestine on X-rays.
- Endoscopy : A thin, lighted tube is inserted through your mouth and into the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. This test is used to look for ulcers, bleeding, and any tissue that looks abnormal.
- Endoscopic biopsy: A piece of stomach tissue is removed so it can be analyzed in a lab.
Tumor necrosis factor inhibitors aid in reducing inflammation. However, they can produce the following GI symptoms:
on the cause of the complications. For example, in order to treat a persons amyloidosis, doctors must treat its underlying cause, which in this case is RA.
However, some RA treatments can cause GI symptoms.
A person can discuss ways to reduce GI symptoms with a rheumatologist.
Risk Factors For Peptic Ulcers
Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, are a risk factor. Acidic foods and alcohol use change the stomach lining and can make it more susceptible to Helicobacter pylori infection, a known cause of stomach ulcers. Overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , medical conditions such as Crohns disease, and a genetic predisposition also may lead to peptic ulcers.
Other common symptoms of a peptic ulcer include:
- Discomfort, bloating
- Blood in the stool black and tarry stool
- Fatigue or weakness, whichcan result from malnutrition or anemia due to small amounts of bleeding from the ulcer
- Unexplained weight loss
Symptoms of peptic ulcers can occur as a result of other conditions, including gastroesophageal reflux disease , chronic dyspepsia, gallbladder disease, liver disease, or a gastrointestinal infection. Its important to see your healthcare provider to determine whats at the root of your pain.
What Is The Treatment For Ulcerative Colitis
Treatment for ulcerative colitis depends on the seriousness of the disease. Most people are treated with medication. In severe cases, a patient may need surgery to remove the diseased colon. Surgery is the only cure for ulcerative colitis.
Some people whose symptoms are triggered by certain foods are able to control the symptoms by avoiding foods that upset their intestines, like highly seasoned foods, raw fruits and vegetables, or milk sugar . Each person may experience ulcerative colitis differently, so treatment is adjusted for each individual. Emotional and psychological support is important.
Some people have remissionsperiods when the symptoms go awaythat last for months or even years. However, most patients symptoms eventually return. This changing pattern of the disease means one cannot always tell when a treatment has helped. Some people with ulcerative colitis may need medical care for some time, with regular doctor visits to monitor the condition.
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Can Peptic Ulcers Be Prevented
Doctors arent sure how H. pylori bacteria spread from person to person. The bacteria have been found in saliva , so kissing may be one way. They also may spread through food, water, or contact with vomit thats infected with the bacteria.
Regular use of NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems and bleeding in some people. Acetaminophen does not cause stomach ulcers and is a good alternative to NSAIDs.
As with many infections, washing your hands well and often is an important part of ulcer prevention. This is extra important after you use the bathroom and before you eat. And take good care of your body by exercising regularly and not smoking or drinking.
Symptoms Of Ulcers In Horses
If your horse is showing signs of an ulcer, make an appointment with your veterinarian. There are many different symptoms of ulcers therefore, it is important to observe your horse and note any different signs or behaviors. Symptoms may include:
- Colic after eating
- Nursing or eating for very short time periods
- Grinding of the teeth
- Agitation, as if in pain
There are several different types of digestive ailments that can affect horses. Like ulcers, these conditions can cause pain and discomfort within the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Types include:
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How To Treat Symptoms
In a given year, 70 percent of people with active disease will have another episode the following year. But only 30 percent of people in remission will have active disease the next year.
Basically, the longer youre in remission, the less likely you are to have a flare-up the next year. And that means less diarrhea. Thats why its so important to find a treatment plan that works for you.
Medications to control UC symptoms include:
- immune modifiers
There are also medications to help with diarrhea. Antidiarrheal agents help slow movement through the intestines, which helps your body absorb the fluids and nutrients you need. These include:
Fiber supplements may also be helpful in reducing diarrhea, but avoid them if youre in the middle of a flare-up. Check with your doctor if youre not sure whether these supplements are suitable for you.
Its also important to speak with your doctor under the following conditions:
- Before adding any over-the-counter treatments or dietary supplements to your regimen. Some have the potential to interfere with the medications youre currently taking.
There are a few ways to help manage urgent or frequent bowel movements. For example, you can set regular times to move your bowels. Choose times that are convenient, so youre not rushed.
Some items that can contribute to loose stools are:
Will Surgery Cure A Peptic Ulcer
Medical therapy works in most people with peptic ulcers. Sometimes, medical therapy does not work, or a person canât take the therapy for some reason. Surgery is an alternative to medical therapy for these people.
Surgical operations often used in peptic ulcers include the following:
- Vagotomy: Cutting the vagus nerve, which transmits messages from the brain to the stomach, can reduce acid secretion. However, this can also interfere with other functions of the stomach. A newer operation cuts only the part of the nerve that affects acid secretion.
- Antrectomy: This is often done in conjunction with a vagotomy. It involves removing the lower part of the stomach . This part of the stomach produces a hormone that increases production of stomach acid. Adjacent parts of the stomach may also be removed.
- Pyloroplasty: This procedure also is sometimes done with vagotomy. It enlarges the opening between the stomach and duodenum to encourage passage of partially digested food. Once the food has passed, acid production normally stops.
- Tying off an artery: If bleeding is a problem, cutting off the blood supply to the ulcer can stop the bleeding.
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What If I Still Need To Take Nsaids
If you take NSAIDs for other conditions, such as arthritis, you should talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of using NSAIDs. Your doctor can help you determine how to continue using an NSAID safely after your peptic ulcer symptoms go away. Your doctor may prescribe a medicine used to prevent NSAID-induced ulcers called Misoprosotol.
Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medicines you take. Your doctor can then decide if you may safely take NSAIDs or if you should switch to a different medicine. In either case, your doctor may prescribe a PPI or histamine receptor blocker to protect the lining of your stomach and duodenum.
If you need NSAIDs, you can reduce the chance of a peptic ulcer returning by
- taking the NSAID with a meal
- using the lowest effective dose possible
- avoiding alcohol
What Causes Chronic Pd
Chronic causes of PD are conditions that may need ongoing treatment in order to prevent PD symptoms. These conditions include:
Irritable bowel syndrome: IBS is a disorder that causes a variety of gastrointestinal issues. These include diarrhea, bloating, gas, and abdominal cramping. Its not clear what causes IBS.
Celiac disease: This autoimmune condition causes damage in your intestines each time you eat gluten. Gluten is a protein found most commonly in wheat products.
Microscopic colitis: This condition causes inflammation of your large intestine. In addition to diarrhea, symptoms include gas and abdominal cramping. The inflammation isnt always present, however. That means symptoms of PD can come and go.
Bile acid malabsorption: Your gallbladder produces bile to help break down and digest fats in your food. If these acids arent properly reabsorbed, they may irritate your large intestines. This can lead to watery stools and diarrhea.
Gallbladder removal: People who have their gallbladder removed may experience frequent diarrhea in the first few weeks and months after the surgery. In most cases, the diarrhea will eventually stop, but some people will continue to have chronic diarrhea or PD after the surgery.
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Other Causes Of Peptic Ulcers
Other potential causes of peptic ulcers include:
- Genetics: Many individuals with peptic ulcers have close relatives with the same problem, suggesting that genetic factors may be contributing.
- Smoking: People who regularly smoke tobacco
A persons description of symptoms will often cause a doctor to suspect a peptic ulcer during a routine exam.
Tests that can confirm a diagnosis include:
- a blood test to check for H. pylori, though a positive test does not always mean there is an active infection
- a breath test, which uses a radioactive carbon atom to detect H. pylori
- a stool antigen test to detect H. pylori in the feces
- an upper gastrointestinal X-ray to identify ulcers
The most common tool doctors use for diagnosis is EsophagoGastroDuodenoscopy or upper endoscopy. It involves inserting a tube through the mouth to look for the presence of an ulcer in the stomach and upper intestine.
If the test detects an ulcer, the doctor may take a biopsy for examination under a microscope. A biopsy can test for H. pylori and look for evidence of cancer. A person may need to repeat an endoscopy a few months later to determine whether the ulcer is healing.
Treatment will focus on either lowering stomach acid levels so that the ulcer can heal or eradicating the H. pylori infection. The following are common treatment methods a doctor may recommend:
A balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables and lacking in intense spices and flavors may help a person feel better.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
See your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Vomiting blood or dark material that looks like coffee grounds
- Extreme weakness or dizziness
- Blood in your stools
- Nausea or vomiting that doesnt get better, or gets worse
- A sudden, severe pain that may spread to your back
- Losing weight without even trying
Untreated peptic ulcers may cause other health problems. Sometimes they bleed. If they become too deep, they can break through your stomach.
Ulcers can also keep food from going through your stomach.
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When Should I Go To Er
Seek emergency care if you have:
- Severe pain that doesnt go away.
- Signs of blood in your poop or bloody vomit.
- Signs of severe blood loss, such as paleness and faintness.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Stomach ulcers are common and treatable, but they should be taken seriously. Even when they dont cause symptoms, they arent a good sign. A stomach ulcer means that your natural stomach acid is overwhelming your protective stomach lining. Thats a situation that can only get worse if it isnt managed. Lifestyle changes may help, but youll still need to treat the underlying cause. Its probably either NSAID use or a common bacterial infection. Your healthcare provider can help prescribe the right medicines for your condition.
How Do I Know If I Have An Ulcer
Describing your symptoms may lead your doctor to suspect that you have a peptic ulcer, but it wonÃ¢t likely help determine the type, because the symptoms of stomach and duodenal ulcers are so similar. The doctor will do tests like these to figure out which specific type of ulcer you have:
- Endoscopy. This is the most accurate diagnostic test to diagnose a peptic ulcer. The doctor puts a flexible tube down your throat to see inside your esophagus , stomach, and duodenum. This allows the doctor to see the cause of bleeding and test for any bacterial infection. During this exam, your doctor may also do a biopsy to check for cancer.
- Barium swallow. If you cant have an endoscopy, this test, also called an upper GI series of X-rays, can help your doctor identify and locate the ulcer and determine its type and severity. The test requires you to drink a barium milkshake, which has a liquid that will show up on an X-ray. They may ask you to eat only bland, easy-to-digest foods for 2-3 days before the test. After drinking the chalky liquid, you lie down on a tilting exam table. This evenly spreads the barium around your upper digestive tract and lets the X-ray take pictures at different angles.
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Can Peptic Ulcer Disease Be Prevented Or Avoided
Stress and spicy foods dont cause ulcers. However, they can make them worse. Smoking and alcohol can cause a peptic ulcer. Men should limit alcohol to no more than 2 drinks per day. Women should have no more than 1 drink per day. Talk to your doctor if you take aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen regularly.
Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcer Disease
The most common symptom is a burning pain in your stomach. It usually lasts for a few minutes to a few hours. It comes and goes for days or weeks at a time. The burning typically occurs between meals and at night. Small ulcers may cause no symptoms.
Other symptoms can include:
- Difficulty drinking as much liquid as usual
- Hunger or an empty feeling in your stomach after you eat
- Stomach pain that wakes you up at night
Less common symptoms include:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
Each persons symptoms may vary. In some cases ulcers dont cause any symptoms.
The most common ulcer symptom is a dull or burning pain in your belly between your breastbone and your belly button . This pain often occurs around meal times and may wake you up at night. It can last from a few minutes to a few hours.
Less common ulcer symptoms may include:
- Feeling full after eating a small amount of food
- Bloody or black stool
Peptic ulcer symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
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Diagnosis Of Ulcers In Horses
If you suspect your horse has a gastric ulcer, make an appointment with your veterinarian. An ulcer can be serious, and sometimes fatal if medical attention is not given in time. Your medical professional will ask questions pertaining to his health history, look closely at his clinical signs, perform blood work, urinalysis, biochemistry profile, and other laboratory testing in order to rule out any other illnesses and come to a preliminary diagnosis.
Your doctor may perform specific diagnostic testing using enhanced diagnostic equipment. He may use a gastroscope, which is an approximately 2 meters-long endoscope into the stomach of your horse. This is currently the most accurate and definitive diagnostic test used to confirm the presence of a stomach ulcer or ulcers.
This test will confirm the specificities of the ulcers, such as size, severity, and precise location. Typically, ulcers are found in the upper portion of the organ however, ulcers can also be found in the lower section, including the duodenum. The ulcer will be classified between the areas of 0-4, with a 4 having severe lesions. He will communicate with you the extent of the ulcer and let you know the options for treatment.
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How Will Your Doctor Diagnose Ulcers
Your doctor will start by asking about your medical history and symptoms. Let your doctor know when and where you most often have symptoms.
Gastric and duodenal ulcers can cause pain in different parts of your abdomen. A variety of tests will usually be recommended since abdominal pain has many causes.
If your doctor thinks H. pylori may be the source of your symptoms, the following tests can confirm or rule out this possibility:
- A blood test. The presence of certain infection-fighting cells could mean you have an H. pylori infection.
- A stool antigen test. In this test, a stool sample is sent to a lab for testing. The test looks for certain proteins in the stool related to H. pylori.
- A urea breath test. A urea breath test involves swallowing a pill that contains a special formulation of urea. You breathe into a collection bag before and after swallowing the pill, and then your carbon dioxide levels are measured. When H. pylori is present, the urea in the pill is broken down into a certain type of carbon dioxide that can be detected.
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