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.
Treatment For A Stomach Ulcer
Special diets are now known to have very little impact on the prevention or treatment of stomach ulcers. Treatment options can include:
- medication including antibiotics, to destroy the H. pylori colony, and drugs to help speed the healing process. Different drugs need to be used in combination some of the side effects can include diarrhoea and rashes. Resistance to some of these antibiotics is becoming more common
- subsequent breath tests used to make sure the H. pylori infection has been treated successfully
- changes to existing medication the doses of arthritis medication, aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medication can be altered slightly to reduce their contributing effects on the stomach ulcer.
- reducing acid tablets are available to reduce the acid content in the gastric juices
- lifestyle modifications including quitting cigarettes, since smoking reduces the natural defences in the stomach and impairs the healing process.
What Happens After Treatment
A repeat gastroscopy is usually advised a few weeks after treatment has finished. This is mainly to check that the ulcer has healed. It is also to be doubly certain that the ulcer was not due to stomach cancer. If your ulcer was caused by H. pylori then a test is advised to check that the H. pylori infection has gone. This is done at least four weeks after the course of combination therapy has finished.
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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.
What If A Peptic Ulcer Doesnt Heal
Most often, medicines heal a peptic ulcer. If an H. pylori infection caused your peptic ulcer, you should finish all of your antibiotics and take any other medicines your doctor prescribes. The infection and peptic ulcer will heal only if you take all medicines as your doctor prescribes.
When you have finished your medicines, your doctor may do another breath or stool test in 4 weeks or more to be sure the H. pylori infection is gone. Sometimes, H. pylori bacteria are still present, even after you have taken all the medicines correctly. If the infection is still present, your peptic ulcer could return or, rarely, stomach cancer could develop. Your doctor will prescribe different antibiotics to get rid of the infection and cure your peptic ulcer.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
Signs of a peptic ulcer include:
- most commonly, burning pain in the belly between the breastbone and the belly button
- feeding problems
- blood in vomit or bowel movements, which may look dark red or black
If your child has any of these signs and symptoms, call your doctor. Many can be caused by other childhood illnesses, but should be reported to your doctor. Based on your child’s medical history and symptoms, the doctor may want your child to see a pediatric gastroenterologist. This is a doctor who treats problems of the stomach, intestines, and associated organs.
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.
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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:
Why Stomach Ulcers Develop And How To Treat Them
July 5, 2019 By Alex Hirsch
Suffering from stomach ulcers can negatively impact your quality of life. One in 10 people in Western countries will develop stomach ulcers at least once in their life. Understanding why ulcers form can help you take preventive measures to avoid their development.
Stomach ulcers or gastric ulcers occur in the lining of the stomach. Normally, protective mucus in the stomach protects against the very strong stomach acid that breaks down the food you eat. But when the mucus lining the stomach wears away and becomes ineffective against this acid you can develop sores in the wall of your stomach. This is how stomach ulcers form.
There are many things that can lead to the thinning of the mucus lining the stomach.
It is important to note that stomach acid is not the bad guy here. It is essential to digestion. Without it, you would not be able to digest the food that you eat. In addition, stomach acid also protects against bad germs.
Luckily, stomach ulcers are easily cured.
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How Do H Pylori Cause A Peptic Ulcer And Peptic Ulcer Disease
H. pylori are spiral-shaped bacteria that can cause peptic ulcer disease by damaging the mucous coating that protects the lining of the stomach and duodenum. Once H. pylori have damaged the mucous coating, powerful stomach acid can get through to the sensitive lining. Together, the stomach acid and H. pylori irritate the lining of the stomach or duodenum and cause a peptic ulcer.
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 Is A Peptic Ulcer Treated
Some peptic ulcers heal on their own. But if you donât treat them, the ulcers tend to come back.
They can erode the blood vessel wall in your stomach or small intestine. The ulcers also can eat a hole through the lining and get infected. Or they can cause swelling, which may block food from moving from your stomach into your small intestine.
If H. pylori is the culprit, your doctor may prescribe a mix of antibiotics to kill it. If aspirin and other NSAIDs are behind the ulcer, you may need to cut down on them, stop taking them altogether, or switch to another pain reliever.
Your doctor may also give you antacids to fight stomach acid, or prescribe medicine to lessen the acid your body makes. Prescription drugs called cytoprotective agents can help protect the lining of the stomach or small intestine so the ulcer can heal.
Bacteria And Stomach Ulcers
Not everyone who is infected with H. Pylori develops stomach ulcers, but those who do often experience burning pain anywhere from their navel to breastbone. Stomach ulcer symptoms are frequently worse between meals and at night, with pain lasting minutes or hours. The pain can come and go for several days or weeks.
Stomach ulcers, or sores, form when the acids that help digest food damage the walls of the stomach or small intestine. H. pylori bacteria enable this process by attacking the stomach lining, which is meant to protect the stomach from its own gastric juices. Once the bacteria have caused significant damage, acid can get through the lining and cause ulcers.
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Pain Medications And Stomach Ulcers
While H. pylori is the main cause of most stomach ulcers, people who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen on a long-term basis are at a higher risk of developing the painful sores. Dr. Hsu says the continual use of these medications can damage the stomach wall, causing ulcers.
This isnt common in young people, but for those over the age of 60 who take these medications for pain relief or for osteoarthritis, prolonged use can cause stomach perforation and bleeding, he says.
Stomach ulcers can also be exacerbated by the use of cigarettes and alcohol, which further irritate the inflamed stomach lining. Tobacco slows the healing of ulcers and increases the likelihood of them coming back. Its a myth that antacids and milk can heal stomach ulcers, but they can provide some brief pain relief. Taking antacids as needed between meals and at bedtime can help ease discomfort.
Stress can also worsen ulcers as it can cause the body to produce larger amounts of acid, irritating an existing ulcer. Increased acid in the stomach makes it difficult for an ulcer to heal, just like picking at a scab on your skin or scratching a rash delays the healing process.
How Is A Stomach Ulcer Treated
Treatment for stomach ulcers usually involves a combination of medications which reduce acid secretion, protect the mucosa, and kill H. pylori bacteria .
This allows ulcers to heal and reduces the chance of them will come back. All medications should be taken exactly as prescribed.
Examples of medications that may be considered to treat stomach ulcers include:
- Antibiotics to kill H. pylori
- H2 receptor blockers that reduce stomach acid production
- Proton pump inhibitors to block stomach acid production
- Protectants that coat the ulcer and protect it against acid and enzymes, enhancing healing
- Bismuth .
Rarely, surgery may be needed.
If NSAIDs have caused your stomach ulcer, your doctor may advise you to stop taking them, reduce their dosage, or switch to an alternative medicine. Follow his/her advice. Talk to your doctor before taking antacids as these may reduce the absorption of some other medications.
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.
How Are Ulcers Treated
If you have a peptic ulcer, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan based on whatâs causing it:
- The most common remedy is a combination of antibiotic drugs to kill the H. pylori bacteria and medications to get rid of acid in your stomach. These typically include proton pump inhibitors , and antibiotics. Youâll take PPIs for several weeks.
- If your ulcer is caused by over-the-counter painkillers, youâll need to quit taking them.
- They also may give you a drug called a protectant, which coats ulcers to protect them from stomach acid.
Lifestyle changes can help, too. You might need to:
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Types Of Stomach Ulcers
Ulcers can develop in various parts of the GI tract, including the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Contrary to popular belief, research shows that men develop duodenal ulcers more often than any other kind, including stomach ulcers. On the other hand, the opposite is true for women: They tend to develop more stomach ulcers and fewer ulcers of the duodenal.
Many doctors refer to stomach ulcers simply as peptic ulcers. A few other types of ulcers and names that ulcers sometimes go by include:
Treatments For Stomach Ulcers
Most peptic ulcers take a month or two to heal with treatment. Theres a small chance that they may come back in the future.
If the cause of your ulcer is an H. pylori bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to kill off the infection. This also reduces your chances of developing another ulcer in the future.
Stomach ulcers caused by NSAIDs are treated with a medication called proton pump inhibitors . This medication helps to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach, allowing the ulcer to heal. Your doctor may also recommend that you take paracetamol instead of NSAIDs.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Stomach Ulcer
Stomach ulcer symptoms depend on the severity of the condition.
The most common symptom is a burning sensation or pain in the middle of the upper abdomen . The pain is more intense when the stomach is empty and lasts for a few to several hours. Other common signs and symptoms include:
- Pain that is relieved when eating or drinking
- Bloody or brown vomit
What Kind Of Doctor Treats Peptic Ulcers
- If you suspect you may have a peptic ulcer, you may first be diagnosed by your family practitioner or internist.
- Children or teenagers may see a pediatrician.
- For further treatment you will likely be referred to a gastroenterologist, a specialist in disorders of the digestive tract.
- If you have an emergency such as vomiting or severe abdominal pain you will be seen by an emergency medicine specialist in an emergency room.
- In the rare case where surgery is needed, you may see a general surgeon.
What Is An Ulcer
Ulcers are breaks in the lining of your stomach or your intestinal lining . Stomach ulcers are more common, and that is what I had.
It is a common belief that ulcers are caused by stress. This actually isnt true. Stress may be a contributing factor. However more recently, scientists are studying the link between the Helicobacter pylori bacteria and ulcers. This bacteria is present in a majority of people who have ulcers especially chronic ones. You may want to ask your doctor to do a stool test for the H. pylori bacteria before you decide on your treatment plan.
Ulcers have also been linked to chronic use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Being aware of your usage of NSAIDs is also important in approaching treatment, especially since you will want to avoid them if you want to heal your ulcer.
Note: I tested negative for the H. Pylori bacteria. I also do not normally use NSAIDs. The cause of my ulcer has never been verified.
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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.
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How Do Tumors From Zes Cause Peptic Ulcers
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a rare disorder that happens when one or more tumors form in your pancreas and duodenum. The tumors release large amounts of gastrin, a hormone that causes your stomach to produce large amounts of acid. The extra acid causes peptic ulcers to form in your duodenum and in the upper intestine.
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How Are Peptic Ulcers Treated
Treatment will depend on the type of ulcer you have. Your healthcare provider will create a care plan for you based on what is causing your ulcer.
Treatment can include making lifestyle changes, taking medicines, or in some cases having surgery.
Lifestyle changes may include:
- Not eating certain foods. Avoid any foods that make your symptoms worse.
- Quitting smoking. Smoking can keep your ulcer from healing. It is also linked to ulcers coming back after treatment.
- Limiting alcohol and caffeine. They can make your symptoms worse.
- Not using NSAIDs . These include aspirin and ibuprofen.
Medicines to treat ulcers may include:
- Antibiotics. These bacteria-fighting medicines are used to kill the H. pylori bacteria. Often a mix of antibiotics and other medicines is used to cure the ulcer and get rid of the infection.
- H2-blockers . These reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes by blocking the hormone histamine. Histamine helps to make acid.
- Proton pump inhibitors or PPIs. These lower stomach acid levels and protect the lining of your stomach and duodenum.
- Mucosal protective agents. These medicines protect the stomachâs mucus lining from acid damage so that it can heal.
- Antacids. These quickly weaken or neutralize stomach acid to ease your symptoms.
In most cases, medicines can heal ulcers quickly. Once the H. pylori bacteria is removed, most ulcers do not come back.
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