Who Is More Likely To Get Ulcers
One in 10 people develops an ulcer. Risk factors that make ulcers more likely include:
- Frequent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , a group of common pain relievers that includes ibuprofen .
- A family history of ulcers.
- Illness such as liver, kidney or lung disease.
- Regularly drinking alcohol.
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.
Can Stomach Ulcers Be Cured Permanently
According to Harvard Health Publishing, most stomach ulcers that are not complicated take two to three months to heal completely. The NIDDK recommends that you take any prescription drugs, especially antibiotics, as your doctor instructs. Your ulcer could reoccur if an H. pylori infection is not completely treated. If the ulcer was caused by NSAID use, you should discontinue taking it until your ulcer heals.
Sometimes, peptic ulcers don’t heal even after treatment. Ulcers that don’t heal after eight to 12 weeks of treatment are described as refractory, according to a paper published in Clinical Endoscopy. Refractory ulcers are treated by increasing the dose of drugs or by using different drugs. According to the Mayo Clinic, refractory ulcers are caused by smoking, continuing the use of NSAIDs, not taking ulcer medications properly, or if H. pylori is resistant to antibiotics. Less common causes of refractory ulcers are Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, another infection apart from that of H. pylori, and diseases like stomach cancer and Crohn’s disease .
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Gastric Ulcer Symptoms Causes And Treatment Know Them All
Gastric ulcer symptoms vary, and this frequent condition can greatly affect the life of the one who suffers from it. Learn all about it!
The excess of gastric acids that some people suffer makes them more prone to developing gastric ulcers. That is, they occur when the lining of the stomach or duodenum is damaged. Therefore, a gastric ulcer is a wound or sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum. However, it could appear in the esophagus and even in later sections of the small intestine.
Most ulcers occur in the first layer of lining that covers the affected organ. Sometimes they are so large that they pierce the stomach. If this were to happen, the patients life would be in danger. Hence, it must be addressed with the utmost urgency.
Hence, it is essential to know this disorder. This way we will be in better conditions to prevent it.
What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose A Peptic Ulcer
Endoscopy. An upper endoscopy exam is expedient because allows healthcare providers to see inside your digestive tract and also take a tissue sample to analyze in the lab. The test is done by passing a thin tube with a tiny camera attached down your throat and into your stomach and duodenum. Youll have medication to numb your throat and help you relax during the test. Your healthcare provider may use the endoscope to take a tissue sample to test for signs of mucous damage, anemia, H. pyloriinfection or malignancy. If they take a sample, you wont feel it.
Imaging tests. Imaging tests to look inside the stomach and small intestine include:
- Upper GI series. An upper GI X-ray exam examines the stomach and duodenum through X-rays. Its less invasive than an endoscopy. For the X-ray, youll swallow a chalky fluid called barium, which will coat your esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The barium helps your digestive organs show up better in black and white images.
- CT scan. Your healthcare provider might recommend a CT scan if they need to see your organs in more detail. A CT scan can show complications such as a perforation in the stomach or intestinal wall. For the test, youll lie on a table inside a scanner machine while X-rays are taken. You may drink or have an injection with contrast fluid to make your organs show up better in images.
Tests for H. pylori. Your healthcare provider might want to test you separately for H. pylori infection. Tests may include:
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How Do Nsaids Cause A Peptic Ulcer
To understand how NSAIDs cause peptic ulcer disease, it is important to understand how NSAIDs work. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduce pain, fever, and inflammation, or swelling.
Everyone has two enzymes that produce chemicals in your bodys cells that promote pain, inflammation, and fever. NSAIDs work by blocking or reducing the amount of these enzymes that your body makes. However, one of the enzymes also produces another type of chemical that protects the stomach lining from stomach acid and helps control bleeding. When NSAIDs block or reduce the amount of this enzyme in your body, they also increase your chance of developing a peptic ulcer.
Prevention Of Stomach Ulcers
There are certain measures you can take to avoid stomach ulcers. People at an elevated risk for developing ulcers — including those over age 70, people who’ve previously had ulcers, and those who are frequent users of NSAIDs — may want to take particular care to follow these guidelines. Basically: Preventing stomach ulcers involves limiting the use of NSAIDs, preventing H. pylori infection, and protecting your stomach’s lining.
If you take pain relievers regularly, the Cleveland Clinic advises that you ask your doctor to prescribe alternatives to NSAIDs. And if you must take NSAIDs, then your doctor should prescribe the lowest possible dose and discuss ways to protect your stomach. The site also advises that you drink in moderation and quit smoking. Johns Hopkins Medicine advises that you practice good hygiene to prevent a H. pylori infection. This includes washing your hands, particularly before mealtimes and after you use the bathroom, and making sure your food and water are clean and safe.
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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.
What Makes Ulcers Flare Up
There are some things that make ulcer symptoms worse. It’s worth knowing what they are even if everyone responds to them differently. If you have an ulcer, you may have noticed that some foods make ulcers flare up. WebMD reports that fatty foods, acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes, chocolate, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine worsen ulcers in some people. Livestrong notes that how coffee affects ulcers depends on your tolerance and the type of coffee you drink. According to the American Addiction Centers, drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing peptic ulcers and worsens ulcers. They advise that you cut down on drinking too much if you have a peptic ulcer.
According to a research review published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, smoking increases your risk of getting a H. pylori infection. Smoking also reduces mucus production, increases stomach acid, causes reflux from the duodenum, and makes ulcers difficult to heal.
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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
An evidence-based approach to peptic ulcer disease is recommended. PUD is a very common disorder that affects millions of people. When left untreated, it has significant morbidity. The majority of patients with PUD present to their primary caregiver, but others may present to the emergency department, urgent care clinic, or an outpatient clinic. Because the presentation of PUD is often vague, healthcare workers, including nurses, need to be aware of this diagnosis. The abdominal pain can mimic a number of other pathologies and consequently lead to a delay in treatment.
Once the diagnosis is made, the key is to educate the patient on lifestyle changes, which include discontinuation of smoking, abstaining from alcohol and caffeinated beverages, and avoid consumption of too many NSAIDs. Gastroenterology nurses monitor patients, provide education, and keep the team updated on the patient’s condition. The pharmacist should educate the patient on medication compliance to obtain symptom relief and a cure. A dietary consult should be sought as there is evidence that obesity may be a trigger factor for peptic ulcer disease. Only through a team approach can the morbidity of peptic ulcer disease be decreased. For most patients with PUD who are treated with the triple regimen or PPI, the outcomes are excellent, but recurrence of symptoms is not uncommon.
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone who thinks they may have an ulcer in their stomach should consult a doctor. Any stomach symptoms that last for more than a few days or keep happening need evaluation and treatment.
Symptoms of anemia, such as tiredness and breathlessness, may signal a slow-bleeding ulcer. More serious bleeding is an urgent medical problem, as people may vomit up blood, or stools are black and sticky.
Perforation is also an emergency. Without quick treatment, the wall of the stomach can become infected. Sudden stomach pain that gets worse can indicate perforation, and any signs of being very unwell with infection need treatment as soon as possible.
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What Causes A Peptic Ulcer
Causes of peptic ulcers include
- long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- an infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori
- rare cancerous and noncancerous tumors in the stomach, duodenum, or pancreasknown as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Sometimes peptic ulcers are caused by both NSAIDs and H. pylori.
How Are Peptic Ulcers Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will look at your past health and give you a physical exam. You may also have some tests.
Imaging tests used to diagnose ulcers include:
- Upper GI series or barium swallow. This test looks at the organs of the top part of your digestive system. It checks your food pipe , stomach, and the first part of the small intestine . You will swallow a metallic fluid called barium. Barium coats the organs so that they can be seen on an X-ray.
- Upper endoscopy or EGD . This test looks at the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. It uses a thin lighted tube called an endoscope. The tube has a camera at one end. The tube is put into your mouth and throat. Then it goes into your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Your health care provider can see the inside of these organs. A small tissue sample can be taken. This can be checked for H. pylori.
You may also have the following lab tests to see if you have an H. pylori infection:
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How Is An Ulcer Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. They may do an endoscopy. This procedure involves inserting a thin, flexible tube attached to a camera down your throat and into your stomach. Your doctor will test your blood, breath or stool for H. pylori. They also can test a sample of your stomach lining. Your doctor also will ask you if you regularly take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medicines.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Bleeding Ulcer
Bleeding ulcers dont always cause pain. Sometimes the first signs of a bleeding ulcer are signs of anemia. These include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
You might have a heavier bleed if you notice:
- Blood in your poop, or black poop that resembles tar.
These symptoms require urgent medical attention.
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If Your Ulcer Was Caused By An Anti
If possible, you should stop taking the anti-inflammatory medicine. This allows the ulcer to heal. You will also normally be prescribed an acid-suppressing medicine for several weeks. This stops the stomach from making acid and allows the ulcer to heal. However, in many cases, the anti-inflammatory medicine is needed to ease symptoms of arthritis or other painful conditions, or aspirin is needed to protect against blood clots. In these situations, one option is to take an acid-suppressing medicine each day indefinitely. This reduces the amount of acid made by the stomach and greatly reduces the chance of an ulcer forming again.
Industry Influence On Research
In 2016 research into the archives of the, the for the in the US, had sponsored an influential published in 1965 in the that downplayed early findings about the role of a diet heavy in sugar in the development of CAD and emphasized the role of fat that review influenced decades of research funding and guidance on .
Research efforts are focused on new treatment modalities and various . A region on was confined to families with multiple cases of myocardial infarction. Other genome-wide studies have identified a firm risk variant on . However, these and other are found in intergenic segments and need further research in understanding how the is affected.
A more controversial link is that between infection and atherosclerosis. While this intracellular organism has been demonstrated in atherosclerotic plaques, evidence is inconclusive as to whether it can be considered a causative factor. Treatment with antibiotics in patients with proven atherosclerosis has not demonstrated a decreased risk of heart attacks or other coronary vascular diseases.
Since the 1990s the search for new treatment options for coronary artery disease patients, particularly for so called “no-option” coronary patients, focused on usage of and therapies. Numerous clinical trials were performed, either applying therapies, such as or , or cell therapies using different kinds of adult populations. Research is still going on â with first promising results particularly for and utilization of endothelial .
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Diagnosis Of A Stomach Ulcer
Diagnosing a stomach ulcer is done using a range of methods, including:
- Endoscopy a thin flexible tube is threaded down the oesophagus into the stomach under light anaesthesia. The endoscope is fitted with a small camera so the physician can see if there is an ulcer.
- Barium meal a chalky liquid is drunk and an x-ray is performed, showing the stomach lining. These tests are less common nowadays, but may be useful where endoscopy is unavailable.
- Biopsy a small tissue sample is taken during an endoscopy and tested in a laboratory. This biopsy should always be done if a gastric ulcer is found.
- C14 breath test this checks for the presence of H. pylori. The bacteria convert urea into carbon dioxide. The test involves swallowing an amount of radioactive carbon and testing the air exhaled from the lungs. A non-radioactive test can be used for children and pregnant women.
Natural Remedies For Stomach Ulcers
According to a research review from the Brazilian Archives of Digestive Surgery, eating fiber-rich foods like apples, oatmeal, granola seeds, flaxseed, pears, and whole grains helps food pass through the digestive system fast, and reduces bloating and abdominal pain from eating. Additionally, Healthline notes that foods like cabbage and honey have antioxidant abilities that help prevent and heal ulcers dried licorice and honey help increase mucus and garlic and mastic have antibacterial properties that can help fight against H. pylori infection.
Apart from food, other natural remedies are also effective to some extent. identifies five essential oils effective against H. pylori infection based on a study published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. They include lemon grass, carrot seed, clove, cinnamon bark and manuka essential oils. Also, Dr. Samuel Meyers told Prevention that water dilutes stomach acid, so drinking a full glass of water can help ease discomfort.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, supplements and herbs may affect drugs you are taking and may be compromised during their manufacture. So, you should discuss any remedy you want to use with your doctor.
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Prevention Of Peptic Ulcers
Using alternatives to NSAIDs, like acetaminophen, to relieve pain can help prevent peptic ulcers. If you need to use an NSAID, opt for the lowest dose and take it with a meal.
Peptic ulcers caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori are not usually preventable, but good hygiene such as washing your hands thoroughly before eating and after using the bathroom may help limit the spread.
What Are The Possible Complications
An untreated ulcer that swells or scars can block your digestive tract. It can also perforate your stomach or small intestine, infecting your abdominal cavity. That causes a condition known as peritonitis.
A bleeding ulcer can lead to anemia, bloody vomit, or bloody stools. A bleeding ulcer usually results in a hospital stay. Severe internal bleeding is life-threatening. Perforation or serious bleeding may require surgical intervention.
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What Are The Possible Complications Of Peptic Ulcer Disease
An ulcer left untreated may cause serious complications, including:
- Internal bleeding: While most people with ulcers wont have bleeding, this is the most common complication that can occur. A slow bleeding ulcer can cause anemia or even severe blood loss.
- Perforation: An ulcer that is continuously eroded by acid can eventually become a hole in the stomach or intestinal wall. This is intensely painful and also dangerous. It allows bacteria from the digestive tract to enter the abdominal cavity, which can lead to an infection of the abdominal cavity called peritonitis. From there, the infection is at risk of spreading to the rest of the body . This can lead to a life-threatening condition called .
- Obstruction: An ulcer in the pyloric channel, the narrow passageway that leads from the stomach into the duodenum, can become an obstruction that blocks the flow of food into the small intestine. This can happen after the ulcer has healed. Ulcers that have gone through a healing process may build up scar tissue that enlarges them. An ulcer that is big enough to obstruct the small intestine can stall the digestive process, with numerous side effects.
- Stomach cancer: Some gastric ulcers can become malignant over time. This is more likely when your ulcer is caused by H. pylori infection. H. pylori is a contributing cause of gastric cancer, though fortunately, this is uncommon.