How To Spot Bleeding Stomach Ulcers
It is important to understand a few facts about peptic ulcers and bleeding from the upper gut. Firstly peptic ulcers refers to stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers . Between the two, duodenal ulcers are more common. Secondly there are many possible causes of bleeding from the upper gut . A bleeding peptic ulcer is only one possible cause of upper gastrointestinal bleeding, albeit the most common.
Sometimes the signs and symptoms of an upper gastrointestinal bleed, like a bleeding ulcer, is overt and therefore obvious. It may be seen as fresh red blood in the vomit or similar to dark coffee grounds in the vomit. At other times the bleed is less obvious. A person may not vomit, may not seen any overt signs of bleeding and the bleed is discovered routinely with diagnostic investigations or when complications like anemia arise. Therefore there is no definitive way to spot a bleeding stomach ulcer in these cases without a medical assessment.
Read more on stomach ulcers.
How To Relieve Stomach Ulcer Pain
A stomach ulcer is a peptic ulcer which is in the stomach, it is also known as a gastric ulcer. These are open ulcers that originate in this area when it is burst or is unprotected from the strong gastric acids found in this organ. These wounds are due to a bacterial infection mostly, though excess acids and stomach juices can also be the cause. Medical intervention is usually necessary to help ulcers heal completely, so in this article you an see what resources are available to relieve stomach ulcer pain at home, as these remedies are meant to accompany the medication prescribed by a doctor.
The most common cause of stomach ulcers is an infection caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. Though we must highlight that not all patients that have this bacteria in their stomachs develop a gastric ulcer. Moreover, it can also be caused by excess formation of gastric acid and due to bad habits.
The main symptoms of stomach ulcers may include nausea, diarrhea and severe pain in the stomach. You tend to feel a burning sensation. When stomach ulcers gets serious, a sudden weight loss process will start and blood may be visible in stools.
When you notice the aforementioned symptoms, you must consult your doctor to get the convenient tests in order to be prescribed with the adequate treatment. Remember you should never take medicine on your own behalf as it could put your health at risk.
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. pylori infection 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 Soon After Treatment Will I Feel Better
If you take all medicines as prescribed and avoid irritating the ulcer with NSAIDs, alcohol or smoking, your ulcer should heal well within a few weeks. Surgical cases may take a few weeks more. Your healthcare provider will follow up with you at the end of your course of medication to make sure the ulcer has healed and any infection has cleared. They will probably take follow-up tests, including an upper endoscopy to look at the site of the ulcer and tests for H. pylori, if you had it, to make sure the infection is gone.
Alternative And Complementary Therapies
Certain lifestyle changes can help you recover from an ulcer.
- Watch your diet. If you know that there are specific foods that make your ulcer feel worse, avoid them until your treatment is over. For many people, these include alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods, spicy foods, and chocolate.
- Stop smoking. If you smoke, you are already at increased risk of getting an ulcer. The data also shows that ulcers take longer to heal in smokers and that the ulcer medication you are taking may be less effective. Scientists don’t know exactly why smoking has these negative effects.
- Take pain medication carefully. NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and many other commonly taken drugs, are taken for pain and fever, but can cause an ulcer if used too often. NSAIDs can also prevent an ulcer from healing as quickly as you would like, so talk to your doctor about what you can take for your other aches and pains while you are waiting for your ulcer to heal. Acetaminophen does not cause ulcers, so it may be an effective substitute. Also, be sure to read all drug labels some cough and cold liquids have NSAID ingredients in them, and you should avoid them, too.
- Cut back on alcohol. Stop drinking alcohol if you want to completely reduce your risk of additional ulcers and help your body heal.
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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.
Treatment If Ulcers Get Worse
If you have serious complications from a peptic ulcer, such as bleeding or obstruction, you may need an endoscopy, even if you have already had one.
If your stomach or intestine has a perforation or your ulcer continues to bleed despite treatment, you may need surgery. But surgery is rarely used to treat an ulcer.
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How Common Are Stomach Ulcers
Its 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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Treating Helicobacter Pylori Infection
If your stomach ulcers caused by a Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection, youll be given:
- a course of antibiotics
- a medication called a proton pump inhibitor
This is also recommended if its thought your stomach ulcers caused by a combination of an H. pylori infection and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
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Signs Of Bleeding Stomach Ulcer And Tests
Posted by Dr. Chris
Stomach ulcers are a common digestive problem and can cause significant discomfort. Sometimes these ulcers, which are open sores, may bleed. This can continue intermittently for weeks and even months. However, in some cases it can arise suddenly and be severe. As with any blood loss, this can be dangerous. For high risk patients like the elderly it can even lead to death if there is extensive blood loss without medical treatment.
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.
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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.
What Is The Cause Of Peptic Ulcers
When you eat, your stomach produces hydrochloric acid and an enzyme called pepsin to digest the food.
- The food is partially digested in the stomach and then moves on to the duodenum to continue the process.
- Peptic ulcers occur when the acid and enzyme overcome the defense mechanisms of the gastrointestinal tract and erode the mucosal wall.
- Now it is understood that people with ulcers have an imbalance between acid and pepsin coupled with the digestive tracts inability to protect itself from these harsh substances.
- Research done in the 1980s showed that some ulcers are caused by infection with a bacterium named Helicobacter pylori, usually called H pylori.
- Not everyone who gets an ulcer is infected with H pylori. Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause ulcers if taken regularly.
Some types of medical therapy can contribute to ulcer formation. The following factors can weaken the protective mucosal barrier of the stomach increasing the chances of getting an ulcer and slow the healing of existing ulcers.
- Aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , and newer anti-inflammatory medications
- Radiation therapy:-used for diseases such as cancer
People who take aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications are at an increased risk even if they do not have H pylori infection.
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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What Are The Symptoms Of Any Complications
Stomach ulcers can cause various complications but these are much less common now because of more effective treatments. However, complications can be very serious and include:
Bleeding from the ulcer
- This can range from a trickle to a life-threatening bleed.
- If there is sudden heavy bleeding then this will cause you to vomit blood and make you feel very faint.
- Less sudden bleeding may cause you to vomit and the vomit looks coffee-coloured because the stomach acid has partly broken down the blood.
- A more gradual trickle of blood will pass through your gut and cause your stools to look very dark in colour or even black .
PerforationThis is the term used to describe the ulcer having gone all the way through the wall of the stomach. Food and acid in the stomach then leak out of the stomach. This usually causes severe pain and makes you very unwell. Stomach perforation is a medical emergency and needs hospital treatment as soon as possible.
Stomach blockageThis is now rare. An ulcer at the end of the stomach can cause the outlet of the stomach to narrow and cause an obstruction. This can cause frequent severe vomiting.
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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.
What Are Horse Ulcers
Horse gastric ulcers are sores that form in the lining of the stomach. Ninety percent of all horses will develop ulcers at some point in their life. Horses have four types of ulcers. Squamous ulcers occur in the upper part of the stomach, close to the esophagus, and are referred to as Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome. Glandular ulcers are found in the lower part of the stomach and are referred to as Equine Glandular Gastric Disease. Pyloric ulcers are found in the opening of the stomach to the small intestines.
But why are ulcers so prevalent in horses?
Compared to other large animals, the horses stomach is on the smaller side. In fact, because of the size of their stomach, experts recommend horses should eat smaller meals more often.
A horses stomach acts like two stomachs in one. The upper portion of the stomach is called the squamous. It does not produce any digestive acids and therefore does not have a protective lining. It is particularly vulnerable to ulcers. The lower portion of the stomach is known as the glandular. It produces digestive acid twenty-four seven and, as a result, has a protective lining.
Squamous ulcers occur during a horses movement when acid splashes up onto the upper portion of the stomach where there is no protective lining and causes irritation. In some cases, it produces an ulcer. Even though movement can result in ulcers developing, they are preventable.
Figure 2 The Equine Stomach with permission from Jean Abernethy
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Riding A Horse With Ulcers
A horse can be ridden while recovering from and receiving treatment for gastric ulcers. An exception to this would be that if your horse has been suffering from the illness for an extended period before diagnosis and is suffering considerably from bad health. If your horse is physically weakened, then riding is not recommended.Ride with less intensity.
It is important to note that stress can intensify the effects of stomach ulcers and inhibit their healing. Therefore, how you ride your horse while treating stomach ulcers is an important factor in their healing.
In other words, You should alter the intensity of your riding during the thirty-day treatment cycle. If you are preparing your horse for competition or working through foundational training, it is recommended to adjust your training program to eliminate as much stress from your riding sessions as possible. You should consider postponing your training during treatment and focus on just enough riding and movement to maintain conditioning.
Keep in my mind a healthy horse will always perform better. So, slowing down to allow your horse to heal from gastric ulcers may speed up your efforts later, once your horse is back to 100%.
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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