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.
How Will My Doctor Treat My Stomach Ulcer
Most stomach ulcers take 1-2 months to heal and your doctor/gastroenterologist will prescribe you the treatment based on the cause of your ulcer.
- Your doctor will assess your family history, dietary history, diseases, and medication history and examine your tummy to address the cause of your stomach ulcer.
- Your doctor will discuss with you the side effects of the painkillers and analgesics, which you may be taking, and whether you should keep using them or stop them.
- Your doctor may advise you to stop smoking, stop alcohol consumption, lose some weight, and avoid some trigger foods, such as spicy and fatty food.
- Your doctor may prescribe an alternative painkiller, analgesic, or anti-inflammatory medications, such as Paracetamol.
- Your doctor will prescribe you proton pump inhibitors and antacids to reduce the amount of acid production and some antibiotics for up to 2 weeks to treat H pylori infection.
- Your doctor will prescribe probiotics, which will help to grow good bacteria in your gut and may be useful in killing H pylori bacteria.
- Your doctor may prescribe you bismuth supplements.
- Your doctor may have another endoscopy to check stomach ulcers several weeks after treatment to make sure that the ulcer is gone because a very small number of stomach ulcers might contain cancer.
If the underlying cause is not addressed properly, the stomach ulcer may recur even after the treatment.
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 .
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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:
When Should I See A Doctor If I Think I Have A Peptic Ulcer
- If you have burning pain in your upper stomach that is relieved by eating or taking antacids, call a health-care professional for an appointment. Don’t assume you have an ulcer. Certain other conditions can cause similar symptoms.
- If you vomit blood or have other signs of gastrointestinal bleeding, go to an emergency department right away. Peptic ulcers can cause massive bleeding, which requires blood transfusion or surgery.
- Severe abdominal pain suggests perforation or tearing of an ulcer. This is an emergency that may require surgery to fix a hole in your stomach.
- Vomiting and abdominal pain also can be a sign of an obstruction, another complication of peptic ulcers. This also may require emergency surgery.
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How Long Does Stomach Ulcer Taketo Heal
The goodnews, stomach ulcer is treatable. Even new treatments are more effective tomake the ulcer heal more quickly. But how long does it take to heal?
The answer can vary from case to case, which is usually dependent on several factors. The main ones are the cause and severity of the ulcer. What kind of treatment you take would also have an effect!
IfH-pylori infection is the cause of your ulcer, the goal of the treatment is todrive away the infection and reduce the stomach acid level. The standardtreatment usually involves some of the following approaches for 1-2 weeks ormore :
Take allof your medications as directed! For example, take the full course of yourantibiotics or follow the duration directed by your doctor dont stop earlyeven though you start to feel better! This is important to wipe out all of thebacteria completely.
If yourulcer is caused by the regular use of pain relievers such as NSAIDs or aspirin, your doctor will:
Testing For H Pylori Infection
If your GP thinks your symptoms may be caused by an H. pylori infection, they may recommend one of the following tests:
- a urea breath test you’ll be given a special drink containing a chemical that’s broken down by H. pylori your breath is then analysed to see whether or not you have an H. pylori infection
- a stool antigen test a small stool sample is tested for the bacteria
- a blood test a sample of your blood is tested for antibodies to the H. pylori bacteria this has now largely been replaced by the stool antigen test
If you test positive for H. pylori, you’ll need treatment to clear the infection, which can heal the ulcer and prevent it returning.
Read more about treating stomach ulcers.
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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:
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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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
Recovery Of Ulcers In Horses
Once treatment is begun, ulcers tend to begin healing however, it may take time. Depending on the type of treatment and the severity of the ulcer, your horse may take anywhere from a week to over a month to heal. Since ulcers tend to recur, it is important to have your horse get checked by your veterinarian a few days after the treatment is complete.
If you choose to give supplements or probiotics to your horse, be sure to consult with your veterinarian and he may give you professional advice on what would benefit your horse. Your medical professional will also reiterate the importance of altering his eating habits and stall time.
Your veterinarian will give you specific instructions on the medication dosage and administration, and will communicate to you any side effects to watch for. It will be important to monitor your horses symptoms and behavior during treatment and after. If you have any questions or concerns about how your horse is recovering from a gastric ulcer, contact your veterinarian. He may want to see him again during his treatment period to check on his recovery.
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What Happens During A Urea Breath Test
The test involves firstly swallowing a special solution or capsule containing radioactively labelled urea. If there is an H. pylori infection, the urease from the bacteria will break down the urea, and the breakdown products will also be radioactively labelled.
The second part of the test involves exhaling into a special bag, which is sealed and sent to a laboratory to be tested for radioactively labelled carbon dioxide. Labelled carbon dioxide will only be present if there is an H. pylori infection.
The amount of radioactivity you are exposed to during a breath test is very low about the same as the amount we are exposed to naturally in one day of everyday life. However, there is a non-radioactive breath test that can be used in women of childbearing age and in children.
Other Causes And Factors
Other causes are rare. For example, some viral infections can cause a stomach ulcer. Crohn’s disease may cause a stomach ulcer in addition to other problems of the gut.
Stomach cancer may at first look similar to an ulcer. Stomach cancer is uncommon but may need to be ‘ruled out’ if you are found to have a stomach ulcer.
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How Can My Doctor Diagnose My Stomach Ulcer
Depending on the availability and cost, following the test, your doctor may ask for
- Antibody blood test
Is This Test Dangerous
While every medical procedure involves some degree of risk, the frequency of complications during gastroscopy is extremely low. With the modern flexible fiberoptic instruments now available, gastroscopy has become a safe and simple method of examining the upper digestive tract. When performed by a physician who is specially trained and experienced in this procedure, the benefits of gastroscopy far exceed its risks.
Your doctor is a GASTROENTEROLOGIST. In addition to standard medical training, he has received special instruction in diseases of the digestive system and has been thoroughly trained in the safe and proper operation of the gastroscope. The combination of this experience and your cooperation should make this test as safe and simple as possible. However, as with all medical procedures, complications can sometimes occur.
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Signs You May Have A Stomach Ulcer
We have absolutely warned our patients about the dangers of untreated ulcers in the past. However, we consider this to be an extremely important matter and therefore, we will continue to try to educate the people of Los Angeles, as well as those elsewhere on the most common symptoms of stomach ulcers. If you know the signs, you can see your doctor sooner rather than later when things have gotten especially bad. Continue reading below to get familiar with what these symptoms are.
How Are Infected Leg Ulcers Treated
The first step in treating an infected leg ulcer is to get rid of the infection. An antibiotic will usually be prescribed to treat the infection. Sometimes the wound may need to be medically cleaned in order to remove any dirt or bacteria that is in the wound.
In addition to treating the infection, your healthcare team will focus on improving circulation, preventing future infections, and healing the open wound. Other common treatment recommendations include:
- Wearing compression stockings or bandages to help improve circulation
- Keeping leg raised to help improve blood circulation
- Cleaning the wound
- Surgical options to improve circulation
Getting proper treatment for a leg ulcer can help prevent it from becoming infected. If you suspect a wound on your leg may be a leg ulcer, call Vein911 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Pittman.
Dr. Pittman can help with the diagnosis and treatment of leg ulcers. He is also experienced in treating other venous problems include varicose veins, finding the cause of lymphedema, and DVT. Call the office today to schedule an appointment.
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What Does A Stomach Ulcer Feels Like
Stomach ulcer pain usually begins in the upper middle part of the abdomen, above the belly button and below the breastbone. The pain may feel like burning or gnawing that may go through to the back. The onset of the pain may occur several hours after a meal when the stomach is empty. Patients have reported paint to be worse at night as opposed to the morning. Pain duration may vary from a few minutes to several hours. Pain may be relieved by foods, antacids or vomiting.
How Common Are Stomach Ulcers
It’s not known exactly how common stomach ulcers are. They have become much less common since the 1980s because of much more effective treatments. So people with stomach ulcers now usually get better much more quickly.
The term ‘peptic ulcer’ is used to describe ulcers that are caused by too much acid in the stomach. This includes stomach ulcers and also ulcers in the first part of the gut known as the duodenum. Stomach ulcers are less common than duodenal ulcers.
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How Do You Diagnose Stomach Ulcers
You should see a doctor if your symptoms arent resolving, or if over-the-counter antacids are only working temporarily.
When evaluating patients for stomach ulcers, our gastroenterologists start by taking a detailed patient history and a review of symptoms. Tests we may use to diagnose stomach ulcers include:
- Upper endoscopy, in which the gastroenterologist inserts a special endoscope into the patients mouth to inspect the stomach for ulcers
- Blood, breath, or stool tests to screen for H. pylori
If Your Ulcer Was Caused By Helicobacter Pylori
Most stomach ulcers are caused by infection with H. pylori. Therefore, a main part of the treatment is to clear this infection. If this infection is not cleared, the ulcer is likely to return once you stop taking acid-suppressing medication. For more information, see the separate leaflet called Helicobacter Pylori.
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Causes Of Ulcers In Horses
There are several different causes of the development of gastric ulcers in horses. Ulcers can be very mild or quite severe. Causes can include:
- Feed that does not allow the horse to produce saliva
- Too much exercise
- Stress increases the amount of blood flow to stomach
- Overuse of anti-inflammatory medications
Can A Peptic Ulcer Come Back
Yes, a peptic ulcer can come back. If you smoke or take NSAIDs, peptic ulcers are more likely to come back. If you need to take an NSAID, your doctor may switch you to a different medicine or add medicines to help prevent a peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcer disease can return, even if you have been careful to reduce your risk.
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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.