Causes Of Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers happen when theres damage to the layer that protects the stomach lining from the acids in your stomach.
This is usually a result of:
- an infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
- taking anti-inflammatory medicines , such as ibuprofen or aspirin particularly if they’re 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’s little evidence to suggest this is the case.
Stomach ulcers can affect anyone but are more common in people aged 60 or over. Men are more affected than women.
Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
The management of an esophageal ulcer is with an interprofessional team that consists of a thoracic surgeon, gastroenterologist, radiologist, and an internist. Treatment of esophageal ulcers secondary to GERD is aimed at acid suppression, controlling acid secretion, promoting peristalsis and mucosal wall healing.
Treatment of drug-induced esophageal ulcer includes discontinuation of the offending medications and administering proton pump inhibitors. Antituberculous medications with Isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide for 6 to 9 months can be used for esophageal ulcers caused by tuberculosis.
Antimicrobial agents are used for treating mucosal damage caused by infectious esophagitis. Infection caused by cytomegalovirus is treated with ganciclovir whereas fluconazole is the preferred choice in the treatment of esophageal candidiasis.
Finally, severe cases of esophageal injury are managed by intubation with a nasogastric tube, administration of intravenous fluids, chemoprophylaxis with antibiotics, pain relief with analgesics and treating the ulcer with H2 receptor antagonists and PPIs. The prognosis for patients with esophageal ulcer depends on the immune status, comorbidity, age, and cause. For those who comply with treatment, the prognosis is good.
Peptic Ulcer Facts And Picture
- Peptic ulcer are sores in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum.
- The main symptom of a stomach or duodenal ulcer is upper abdominal pain, which can be dull, sharp, or burning .
- Other associated symptoms may include:
- acid reflux or heartburn and
- feeling satiated when eating.
You May Like: Vsl 3 And Ulcerative Colitis
Treating Helicobacter Pylori Infection
If your stomach ulcer’s caused by a Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection, you’ll be given:
- a course of antibiotics
- a medication called a proton pump inhibitor
This is also recommended if it’s thought your stomach ulcer’s caused by a combination of an H. pylori infection and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
What Does A Stomach Ulcer Feel Like
The classic symptoms of peptic ulcers are stomach pain and indigestion. Ulcer pain feels like burning or gnawing inside your stomach, which is between your breastbone and your belly button. It may improve temporarily when you eat or drink or when you take an antacid, medication to reduce stomach acid. It may feel worse between meals and at night when stomach acid builds up without food to digest. It may also make you feel like you dont want to eat.
How do I know if I have an ulcer or gastritis?
Gastritis and gastric ulcers share many symptoms and often go hand in hand. Gastritis can be a precursor to stomach ulcers, caused by the same conditions that will eventually cause ulcers, including H. pylori infection and mucous erosion. You may also have both.
Both gastritis and stomach ulcers can cause stomach pain, as well as symptoms of indigestion. Usually, the pain from an ulcer will feel more localized like its coming from one particular spot. But since some ulcers are silent, you might not feel it if you do have one.
If you have symptoms of either gastritis or stomach ulcer, you should seek medical care. Gastritis can lead to ulcers if it hasnt already. It can also indicate an infection or other condition that needs to be treated. Medical testing can quickly determine the causes of your stomach pain.
How can I tell if I have ulcer pain or heartburn?
Read Also: Can Ulcerative Colitis Cause Body Aches
Gastrointestinal Adverse Effects And Esophageal Cancer
Oral daily bisphosphonates have been associated with esophageal ulcers, esophagitis, and bleeding however, these side effects lessened with the advent of weekly or monthly preparations. Concern has emerged about an association between oral bisphosphonate use and an increased risk of esophageal cancer , which remains unvalidated. The bulk of evidence points away from an association between bisphosphonate and esophageal cancer , although a large nested casecontrol study of over 15,000 adults with gastrointestinal cancer compared with approximately 78,000 matched controls found a doubling of the risk of esophageal cancer among patients who had 10 or more prescriptions for bisphosphonates or who had taken these drugs over 3 years compared with patients not prescribed bisphosphonates , it is possible that the difference is due to enhanced case-finding in bisphosphonate users. Further studies looking at the potential risk for carcinogenicity are clearly needed nevertheless, the current data do not support a causal association between oral bisphosphonates and esophageal carcinoma.
George B. Smallfield MD, C. Mel Wilcox MD, in, 2010
Expert Diagnosis And Treatment For Esophageal Ulcers
The digestive health experts at University Hospitals use the latest techniques to diagnose esophageal conditions, including ulcers. The most common diagnostic test is the upper endoscopy in which a long, flexible tube called an endoscope is passed down the esophagus through the mouth. The doctor is able to examine the inside of the esophagus and look for abnormalities. If something suspicious is seen, the doctor can also take a small sample of tissue that will then be examined under a microscope in the laboratory.
Also Check: Can Ulcerative Colitis Cause Constipation
What Causes Peptic Ulcers
In the past, experts thought lifestyle factors such as stress and diet caused ulcers. Today we know that stomach acids and other digestive juices help create ulcers. These fluids burn the linings of your organs.
Causes of peptic ulcers include:
- H. pylori bacteria . Most ulcers are caused by an infection from a bacteria or germ called H. pylori. This bacteria hurts the mucus that protects the lining of your stomach and the first part of your small intestine . Stomach acid then gets through to the lining.
- NSAIDs . These are over-the-counter pain and fever medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Over time they can damage the mucus that protects the lining of your stomach.
How Can I Be Sure Its An Ulcer
The only way to be sure an ulcer is causing your discomfort is with a medical diagnosis. We will evaluate your medical history and conduct a thorough physical examination.
To determine the root cause of your ulcer, we may run blood, stool, or breath tests. These tests are designed to look for signs of helicobacter pylori, the bacteria linked to ulcers.
Depending on your unique symptoms, we may also order an endoscopy. During an endoscopy, we insert a tube with a tiny camera down your throat and into your stomach to take pictures of any potential damage and collect tissue samples for analysis.
You May Like: Where Are Stomach Ulcers Located
Can Stomach Ulcers Just Go Away
Some ulcers follow a chronic pattern of healing temporarily on their own and then returning. This might happen if the factors contributing to your ulcer, such as NSAID use, smoking and alcohol, are temporarily reduced and then resumed. You wont completely heal your ulcer until you eliminate the cause, whether that is chronic NSAID use, H. pylori infection or an overactive stomach. Even after successful treatment, you can get another ulcer.
What Is An Esophagus Ulcer
An esophagus ulcer is an open sore that forms on the lining of the esophagus, the tube that goes from the throat to the stomach. Some people who have an esophagus ulcer experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or chest pain. The most common causes are gastroesophageal reflux disease , anti-inflammatory medications, smoking, herpes, and human papillomavirus.
Patients with an esophagus ulcer often experience recurring problems. Over time, these ulcers can cause the esophagus to narrow, causing painful and difficult swallowing. Barretts esophagus can develop in patients who have recurring ulcers in the esophagus caused by GERD. Barretts esophagus is a condition where the lining of the esophagus changes, causing chest pain, heartburn, bloody vomit, and difficulty swallowing.
Esophagus ulcers are usually diagnosed by x-ray after the patient drinks a barium solution that allows the doctor to see the outline of the digestive tract clearly. Endoscopes, flexible tubes with a camera and a light, can also be inserted into the throat to look for ulcers. Once a patient is diagnosed, a doctor may check for GERD. GERD patients usually have to take medications and control their diet to help relieve symptoms.
You May Like: How To Treat An Ulcer In Your Esophagus
Also Check: Over The Counter Ulcer Medication
What Are The Symptoms Of Barretts Esophagus
- recurring heartburn
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is known to most people as heartburn. GERD occurs when acid in your stomach flows up into your esophagus. It is common to develop heartburn at some point in ones life. Usually, modifying diet, avoiding foods high in fat, and minor lifestyle changes correct this condition.
In some patients, heartburn does not go away, and over time the acids in the stomach damage the cells in the esophagus to the extent that they cannot repair themselves and this can lead to Barretts esophagus. Between 510 percent of people with GERD end up developing this condition.
Fast Facts On Esophageal Ulcers
- They are a type of peptic ulcer that develops in the lining of the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach.
- Symptoms include pain or a burning sensation behind or below the sternum, the flat bone that runs down the center of the chest.
- Medications, infections, and exposure to stomach acid are common causes.
- Treatment involves addressing the cause of the ulcer.
An esophageal ulcer is a type of peptic ulcer that develops in the lining of the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach.
Esophageal ulcers occur when the layer of mucus, which lines and protects the gastrointestinal tract, wears away.
This allows stomach acid and other gastric juices to irritate the gastrointestinal wall, leading to ulceration.
Aside from a burning pain in the center of the chest, esophageal ulcers typically cause pain or a burning sensation behind or below the sternum, in the center of the chest.
Other symptoms include:
- sour taste in the mouth
Also Check: Ulcerative Colitis Colon Cancer Screening
Burning Pain In The Abdomen
Persistent burning pain in the abdomen is one of the first signs of a stomach ulcer. The sensation of pain occurs when juices in the stomach, which help in digestion, come into contact with an open sore in the stomach lining.
In most cases, the pain is felt from the breast bone to the navel, and it often worsens during the night. If you skip meals, particularly breakfast, you may also experience this burning sensation in the stomach during the daytime.
If the dull and burning ache of the ulcer often turns into a sharp, stabbing pain, it is a sign that your ulcer is acting up and you need medical help. It could mean that the ulcer has caused a more critical problem like a perforation in the wall of your stomach or intestine, or a blockage in your digestive tract, and it is triggering intense pain.
Nsaid Drugs And Stomach Ulcers
A group of painkillers known as NSAIDs carries a risk of stomach ulcers. The two best-known NSAIDs are aspirin and ibuprofen.
The risk of ulcers increases if the drugs are taken in high doses, or regularly for a long time.
Stronger NSAIDs, such as those that need a prescription, are riskier for stomach ulcers than those that can be bought over-the-counter .
People should always check labels and talk to a pharmacist or a doctor about any concerns with using painkillers. They may recommend an alternative such as acetaminophen.
You May Like: Best Medicine For Stomach Ulcers Over The Counter
What Should I Do If I Think I Have A Stomach Ulcer
Always seek medical care for a stomach ulcer. While you may be able to manage symptoms temporarily with over-the-counter medications, these wont heal the ulcer. You need to identify and treat the underlying cause. An untreated ulcer can lead to serious complications, even if your symptoms are mild. The major cause of stomach ulcers, H. pylori infection, can also lead to other complications.
Fast Facts On Throat Ulcers:
- Treatment and management of throat ulcers will depend on what is causing them.
- Prognosis is typically good, especially for those who take their medications and follow their recommended diets.
- The pain caused by the ulcers can lead to a range of symptoms, such as difficulty eating, drinking, chewing, swallowing, or talking.
In the first instance, doctors will do a physical exam and evaluate a persons symptoms. They may then need to take throat cultures, using mouth swabs. Sometimes blood tests and urine tests may be required.
However, diagnosis of throat ulcers will depend on the suspected cause of the condition and may include:
Ulcers found in the throat may be related to or caused by:
- certain chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer
- bacterial infections
- fungal infections such as thrush, which is a yeast infection caused by Candida albicans
- viral infections, such as herpangina , and hand, foot and mouth disease, which are caused by Coxsackie A virus.
- conditions such as Behçets syndrome, which is an inflammatory disease that causes ulcers to form in the mouth, genitals, and other areas of the body
Ulcers found in the esophagus may be related to or caused by conditions such as:
Ulcers or granulomas found on the voice box may be related to or caused by conditions such as:
In some cases, simple lifestyle modifications may be all that is necessary, and these will be discussed in the section below.
Treatment of throat ulcers may include:
Also Check: Causes Of Ulcers In Horses
Duration Of Peptic Ulcers
Ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori heal when the bacteria is killed. The typical course of treatment includes two weeks of antibiotics along with acid-suppressing medicine. This is followed by an additional four to eight weeks of the acid-suppressing medicine alone.
Its possible for an ulcer to heal temporarily without antibiotics, but it will likely recur or another one will form nearby if the bacteria is not killed.
Peptic ulcers caused by medication usually heal shortly after you stop taking the medication. Doctors typically recommend taking antacids for two to six weeks to assist with healing and relieve pain.
Recommended Reading: Ulcerative Colitis And Renal Failure
What Is A Stomach Ulcer
A stomach ulcer, also called a gastric ulcer, is an open sore that develops in your stomach lining. You can also get one in your duodenum, the first part of the small intestine that your stomach feeds into. Duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers are both types of peptic ulcers. Theyre named for pepsin, one of the digestive juices that are found in the stomach and that sometimes leak into the duodenum. These juices are a contributing factor in peptic ulcer disease.
Peptic ulcers occur when the protective mucous lining in your stomach and duodenum has been eroded, allowing gastric acids and digestive enzymes to eat away at your stomach and duodenal walls. This eventually results in open sores that are continually irritated by the acid. If left untreated, they can begin to cause serious complications, such as internal bleeding. Over time, they can even wear a hole all the way through. This is a medical emergency.
Common Warning Signs Of Ulcers
Ulcers are a common medical issue that affects about one in ten people in America. They occur when acid in the digestive tract eats away at the inner surface of the esophagus, stomach or small intestine. The acid can create a painful open sore that may bleed. You can get them anywhere on your body for any reason, but the most common form of ulcers occur in your stomach.
Although there is no single cause for an ulcer, many factors can increase your risk of stomach ulcers including painkillers, excessive drinking of alcohol and smoking tobacco. Luckily, ulcers are easy to treat once you recognize the symptoms of them. Here are five common signs of a stomach ulcer:
Abdominal Pain: A burning sensation may occur in your stomach. The pain will come and go in waves and is often accompanied by bloating. Many may confuse this feeling with acid reflux or other similar diseases. If the abdominal pain starts after you eat, keeps you up at night, and lasts a prolonged period it might be an ulcer.
Nausea: Due to the imbalance in your digestive system, mild to severe nausea may occur, either first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, or after eating. Because of nausea that will occur, rapid weight loss also comes in conjunction with it as well.
Bloating: A feeling of heaviness and fullness can occur in the stomach, usually the same feeling you get after drinking a full glass of water.