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.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have stomach ulcers, you may want to ask your doctor:
- What pain reliever can I use instead of an NSAID?
- How will I know if the H. pylori infection is gone?
- How do we find out if the ulcer has healed?
- What can I do relieve symptoms at home during treatment?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Contrary to commonly held beliefs, ulcers arent caused by stress or foods you eat. Most of time, bacteria causes them. Doctors can treat the bacteria with antibiotics and other medications.
If youve been popping a lot of antacids lately, youre constantly snacking to get rid of a gnawing pain in your stomach or you have any other signs of an ulcer, the best thing you can do for your health is talk to your provider. Treatment can heal an ulcer in a matter of weeks.
When To See A Doctor
Anyone who thinks they may have an ulcer in their stomach should consult their doctor. Any stomach symptoms that last for more than a few days or keep happening need evaluation and treatment.
A slow-bleeding ulcer can be signaled by symptoms of anemia, such as being tired and breathless. More serious bleeding is an urgent medical problem and can be signaled if blood is vomited up, or stools are black and sticky.
Perforation, or a hole in the stomach, 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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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 .
Causes Of Stomach Ulcers
A stomach ulcer can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria is thought to be responsible for around 60 per cent of stomach ulcers and at least 90 per cent of duodenal ulcers.
- Certain medications which include aspirin or clopidogrel, taken regularly to help prevent heart attack or stroke, and drugs for arthritis. Anti-inflammatory medications are thought to cause around two fifths of stomach ulcers.
- Cancer stomach cancer can present as an ulcer, particularly in older people.
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How Do I Know If I Have A Stomach Ulcer
If you have had some of the symptoms of a potential ulcer and are doing research online trying to figure out if you need to go to the hospital or family clinic, or treat it yourself, here is some friendly real world advice..
Pickle Juice It might amaze you and it isnt 100% effective, but pickle juice may help tell you if you have an ulcer. Even though pickle juice is acidic outside the body, once it enters the stomach it becomes alkaline, and neutralizes the ulcer and may alleviate its symptoms within minutes. If you try eating a few pickles or drinking the pickle juice and your symptoms go away within minutes, chances are almost 100% that you have an esophagus or stomach ulcer.
There is some misinformation about pickle juice on the net, in an experience pediatrics department pickle juice is a real, inexpensive test.
You can also use this list below if you are having stomach pains, vomiting, bloating or what feels like bad acid reflux, it may be a stomach ulcer related to the use of the following items..
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Pepsi and carbonated beverage products
Many stomach ulcers are also responsible due to an infection of Helicobacter pylori
There are studies and advice from many different places online suggesting that stress does not cause ulcers, however we believe that eliminating stress on your life is a contributing factor. It could be stress fro your job, your relationship, financial stress or anything like that. Try to avoid stress as much as possible.
How To Recognize Gerd
GERD is a plumbing problem. It starts at the bottom of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.
When the valve at the bottom of your esophagus doesnt close properly, acid backs up and causes a painful burning sensation in your chest and throat. When youve got GERD, acid is coming back up and bathing your esophagus, instead of staying in the stomach where its supposed to be, says Dr. Brocato. That gives you a sensation of food coming up and irritation in your throat.
GERD is very common. According to the National Institutes of Health, it affects about 20% of Americans.
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What Ulcer Treatments Are Available
If your ulcer is bleeding, your doctor may treat it during an endoscopy procedure by injecting medications into it. Your doctor could also use a clamp or cauterization to seal it off and stop the bleeding.
For most people, doctors treat ulcers with medications, including:
- Proton pump inhibitors : These drugs reduce acid, which allows the ulcer to heal. PPIs include Prilosec®, Prevacid®, Aciphex®, Protonix® and Nexium®.
- Histamine receptor blockers : These drugs also reduce acid production and include Tagamet®, Pepcid®, Zantac® and Axid®.
- Antibiotics: These medications kill bacteria. Doctors use them to treat H. pylori.
- Protective medications: Like a liquid bandage, these medications cover the ulcer in a protective layer to prevent further damage from digestive acids and enzymes. Doctors commonly recommend Carafate® or Pepto-Bismol®.
You Have Heartburn At Most Meals
If you find yourself experiencing frequent heartburn, regardless of what you eat, an ulcer may be responsible. Many patients with ulcers describe feeling very intense chest pain, which often causes them to burp or hiccup more than usual after eating. In many cases, a simple over-the-counter antacid can be taken to temporarily alleviate some of the pain and gassiness, but if it persists day after day, its likely something more than a regular case of heartburn.
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What Are The Complications Of Peptic Ulcers
Ulcers can cause serious problems if you dont get treatment.
The most common problems include:
- Bleeding. As an ulcer wears away the muscles of the stomach or duodenal wall, blood vessels may be hurt. This causes bleeding.
- Hole . Sometimes an ulcer makes a hole in the wall of your stomach or duodenum. When this happens, bacteria and partly digested food can get in. This causes infection and redness or swelling .
- Narrowing and blockage . Ulcers that are found where the duodenum joins the stomach can cause swelling and scarring. This can narrow or even block the opening to the duodenum. Food cant leave your stomach and go into your small intestine. This causes vomiting. You cant eat properly.
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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When Should You Call Or See A Doctor
If you think you have a stomach ulcer, call your doctor. Together you can discuss your symptoms and treatment options. If you dont already have a physician, you can use the Healthline FindCare tool to find a provider near you.
Its important to get a stomach ulcer taken care of because without treatment, ulcers and H. pylori can cause:
- bleeding from the ulcer site that can become life-threatening
- penetration, which occurs when the ulcer goes through the wall of the digestive tract and into another organ, such as the pancreas
- perforation, which occurs when the ulcer creates a hole in the wall of the digestive tract
- obstruction in the digestive tract, which is due to swelling of inflamed tissues
- stomach cancer, specifically
Symptoms of these complications can include those listed below. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to call you doctor right away:
What Is Peptic Ulcer Disease
Peptic ulcer disease is a condition in which painful sores or ulcers develop in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine . Normally, a thick layer of mucus protects the stomach lining from the effect of its digestive juices. But many things can reduce this protective layer, allowing stomach acid to damage the tissue.
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Could I Have An Ulcer And Not Know It
5 min Read Time
Around 25 million people will have a stomach ulcer in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite their prevalence, the symptoms of an ulcer can frequently be mistaken for other conditions, like heartburnand some people may not show any signs at all. Its also unlikely that stress or your diet is the culprit. If youre concerned that your stomach pain could be something more serious, read on to find out the causes, proper treatment and prevention methods for peptic ulcers.
Good News About Stomach Ulcers From The Cdc Website
Twenty-five million Americans suffer from ulcers. An ulcer is a sore or hole in the lining of the stomach or duodenum . People of any age can get an ulcer and women are affected just as often as men.
- Your doctor can test you for H. pylori infection.
- Antibiotics are the new cure for ulcers.
- Eliminating H. pylori infections with antibiotics means that your ulcer can be cured for good.
Burning or gnawing feeling in the stomach area lasting between 30 minutes and 3 hours commonly accompanies ulcers. This pain can be misinterpreted as hunger, indigestion or heartburn. Pain is usually caused by the ulcer but it may be aggravated by the stomach acid when it comes into contact with the ulcerated area.
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How Do You Know If You Have A Stomach Ulcer
If you have a stomach ulcer, you may have:
- Burning/dull pain or gnawing pain in the center of your tummy
- Pain that worsens between meals
- Vomiting in the middle of the night
Visit the doctor/gastroenterologist if you
- Vomit blood that is bright red or dark brown
- Are passing dark, sticky, tar-like poo
- Have sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets worse steadily
- These could be the signs of internal bleeding, and this can be fatal.
Presence Of Blood In Stool
When the person uses the toilet, he may experience and be surprised with the presence of a blood in the stool discharge. It is one of the most well-known symptoms of a bleeding ulcer.
If the person goes for a long call of nature and notices dark red traces of blood in the feces, he should seek medical assistance. Blood traces in the stool of a given individual is reasonable enough to believe that he may be experiencing a problem of bleeding ulcers within the digestive track.
It is important to note that blood in the stool is an indicative sign and symptom of internal bleeding ulcers that needs to be confirmed through examinations by a medical professional.
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How Stomach Ulcers Are Treated
With treatment, most stomach ulcers will heal within a month or two. The treatment recommended for you will depend on what caused the ulcer.
Most people will be prescribed a medication called a proton pump inhibitor to reduce the amount of acid their stomach produces and allow the ulcer to heal naturally.
If an H. pylori infection is responsible for the ulcers, antibiotics will also be used to kill the bacteria, which should prevent the ulcer coming back.
If the ulcers are caused by the use of NSAIDs, PPIs are usually prescribed and your doctor will discuss whether you should keep using NSAIDs.
Alternative medication to NSAIDs, such as paracetamol, may be recommended.
Stomach ulcers can come back after treatment, although this is less likely to happen if the underlying cause is addressed.
Read more about treating stomach ulcers.
How Do You Check For An Ulcer
If you think you have peptic ulcer symptoms, visit your doctor. Theyll check your medical history and your symptoms. Theyll ask you about medicines you take, especially NSAIDs. Theyll do a physical exam to check for stomach pain and bloating. Theyll order some lab tests to check for ulcers.
Peptic ulcer diagnosis can follow:
Your doctor will do lab tests for peptic ulcer diagnosis. They may measure gastrin levels in your blood. Gastrin is a hormone that helps release stomach acid or digestive juices.
Theyll also check for H. pylori infection using these tests:
- Urea breath test. Your doctor will ask you to drink a liquid containing urea a waste product formed when protein breaks down in your body. H. pylori bacteria convert urea into carbon dioxide, which is the gas you breathe out. Your doctor will collect your breath sample. If you have an H. pylori infection in your stomach, your breath will have higher levels of carbon dioxide.
- Blood test. A blood test can help detect H. pylori infection.
- Stool test. Doctors use a stool test to detect H. pylori infection. Theyll check if your stool sample has the bacteria.
You may feel bloated and nauseous after the test. For a few days, you may have white or light-colored stools because of barium.
Computerized tomography or CT scan
Your doctor may use gastrointestinal endoscopy along with a biopsy to diagnose peptic ulcer disease. Endoscopy and biopsy are parts of the same procedure:
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Temporary stomach pain usually doesnt make you panic, right? You just assume it was something you ate. But what if the pain lasts for days? Could it be a stomach ulcer?
Gastroenterologist Dr. Anish Sheth weighs in.
Q: Ive been having stomach issues lately. How can I tell if its an ulcer?
A: We all get little aches and pains in the belly, Dr. Anish says. Sometimes we eat too much, sometimes were traveling so the biggest concern is, is this just a little bit of irritation, is this going to pass, or am I actually developing an ulcer?
What are symptoms of a stomach ulcer?
According to Dr. Anish, here are a few:
- Pain in the middle of the abdomen, kind of high up
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain that lasts longer than a few hours or a day
What Treatments Are There For Ulcers
Your treatment will depend on the cause of your ulcer. For example, if our tests indicate that an infection caused by helicobacter pylori is what created your ulcer, well give you antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria.
Regardless of the cause, medications that help reduce the level of acid in your stomach can help the ulcer heal. And different lifestyle changes can accelerate healing as well, such as eliminating certain foods, abstaining from alcohol, and practicing stress management.
In severe cases, surgery may be required. Your provider at Prima Medicine will work with you to create a treatment plan for your situation.
If you have a stomach ulcer or want to see if you do, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.
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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.