Making Lifestyle Changes To Relieve Ulcer Pain
Recommended Reading: Can Ulcerative Colitis Cause Positive Ana
Mayo Clinic Q And A: How Is A Peptic Ulcer Treated
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Last year,I was diagnosed with heartburn due to a peptic ulcer. My doctor suggested that I see a specialist. Who should I see, and what type of treatment is available?
ANSWER: Many people will note that they have “heartburn,” and it is important to know that such a symptom could be related to one of several issues in the digestive tract, including peptic ulcer disease. This is where visiting with a health care professional who specializes in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract a gastroenterologist can help.
Once diagnosed and treated, ulcers usually heal within several months. But a gastroenterologist can help you find the underlying cause of your ulcer and decide on the best treatment going forward.
A peptic ulcer is an open sore on the inside lining of the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers are not rare, and their frequency can depend on age, gender, other medical issues, medications and geography.
It’s possible to have a peptic ulcer and not have any symptoms, although they may cause stomach pain. In some people, a peptic ulcer isn’t identified until they experience symptoms related to a complication from an ulcer, such as bleeding or a hole in the lining of the stomach or bowel.
H. pylori is a bacterium that can live in the mucous layer covering the lining of the stomach. It doesn’t always lead to health problems, but it can sometimes trigger inflammation of the stomach’s inner layer, producing an ulcer.
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 May Like: How Serious Is A Stomach Ulcer
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.
Common Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcer And When To Seek Medical Help
The very mention of the word ulcer is likely to cause an internal, evidently physical discomfort. Thats exactly what peptic ulcers do. They cause a difficult-to-ignore burning pain in your stomach, sometimes in the dead of night, capable of stirring you awake. Misjudging this pain to be a simple case of indigestion may be your natural reaction. However, if this has been happening frequently, do not carelessly dismiss it because pain is your bodys way of signaling you to take care of yourself.
To make some sense and understand where the malfunction lies, we first need to understand what peptic ulcers are.
You May Like: Acute Ulcerative Colitis Treatment Guidelines
Ronald Hsu Md Facg Facp Dds
Sutter Roseville Medical Center
Its impossible to ignore the gnawing, aching abdominal pains that accompany a stomach ulcer. About 25 million Americans suffer from an ulcer at some point in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Contrary to popular belief, ulcers are not caused by psychological stress or the ingestion of spicy foods. Ronald Hsu, M.D., a gastroenterologist with the Sutter Roseville Medical Center, says two Australian researchers discovered in the early 1980s that a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori is the root cause of most stomach ulcers.
Nobody believed them when this was discovered, Dr. Hsu says. The conventional thinking at that time was that bacteria couldnt live in the stomach on account of the strength of gastric acid.
Eventually, the medical community realized the two men were correct in their findings. Pathologist J. Robin Warren and physician Barry J. Marshall were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 2005 for their discovery of H. pylori. Dr. Marshall famously infected himself with the bacterium in an attempt to prove its link to stomach inflammation and ulcers. It is now firmly established that the bacterium causes more than 90 percent of duodenal ulcers and up to 80 percent of gastric ulcers.
Relieve Pain With An Antacid
To stop the pain of ulcers, doctors recommend taking an antacid. During ulcer flare-ups, taking an antacid is the quickest way to relieve the pain, says Meyers. Antacids contain calcium, aluminum, magnesium, or a combination. Aluminum causes constipation in some people, while magnesium can lead to diarrhea. I advise people to evaluate their overall bowel habits, and choose an antacid based on that, as well as their overall calcium requirement, says Meyers.
You May Like: Do Ulcers Cause Weight Loss
Read Also: Muscle Relaxers For Ulcerative Colitis
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.
What To Eat If You Have A Stomach Ulcer
Since H. pylori bacteria is now known to be an important cause of ulcer formation, scientists are exploring what foods may have a role in fighting against an infection.
In addition to taking the antibiotics and acid-blocking medications recommended by your doctor for your ulcer treatment, eating these foods may also be helpful against the ulcer-causing bacteria:
for ulcer treatment. These foods, such as miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi, may prevent reinfection.
Turmeric is currently being studied as a potential treatment for ulcers as well.
Garlic, decaffeinated green tea, and licorice round out the list of things you might want to incorporate in your diet.
Also Check: Ulcers In Small Bowel Crohns
You May Like: Foods To Eat If You Have A Stomach Ulcer
How To Get Rid Of Stomach Ulcers
Have you been frequently experiencing sharp pain in your abdominal region? Do you often feel bloated or full despite eating little? Then chances are that you may have a stomach ulcer.Stomach or gastric ulcers are open sores or lesions that develop in the lining of the stomach or small intestine, when the protective mucus lining of the stomach becomes ineffective or is worn away due to the corrosive action of stomach acids.
These ulcers can also occur in the upper part of the intestines and represent a commonly occurring health problem, courtesy of 21st century fast-food and hectic life schedules.It is easy to get rid of stomach ulcers at home, but if they stay undiagnosed and untreated, they can lead to severe problems like stomach or gastro-intestinal cancer.
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 .
- bloody or blackish bowel movements
Anyone who thinks they might have an ulcer needs to see a doctor. An ulcer thats not treated can grow larger and deeper. This can lead to other problems, such as bleeding in the digestive system or a hole in the wall of the stomach or duodenum, which can make someone very sick.
Also Check: What Medicine Is Best For Stomach Ulcers
Causes And Risk Factors Of Peptic Ulcers
For a long time, it was believed that spicy foods or stress led to peptic ulcers but doctors now know that this isnt the case.
In fact, the most common causes of ulcers are:
- Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that can infect your stomach
- Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin, Advil or Motrin , and Aleve , which can wear away at the mucus layer of the digestive tract
Certain factors can put a person at a greater risk of developing a peptic ulcer, including:
- Taking high doses of NSAIDs
- Using NSAIDs continuously over a long period of time
- Having a history of ulcer disease
- Taking corticosteroids, medications that may be prescribed to treat asthma, arthritis, or lupus
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.
Dont Miss: How To Burn Stomach Fat Without Exercise
Recommended Reading: All Symptoms Of Ulcerative Colitis
Other Risk Factors For Ulcers From H Pylori Or Nsaids
Stress and Psychological Factors
Although stress is no longer considered a cause of ulcers, some studies still suggest that stress may predispose a person to ulcers or prevent existing ulcers from healing.
Smoking increases acid secretion, reduces prostaglandin and bicarbonate production, and decreases blood flow. However, the results of studies on the actual effect of smoking on ulcers are mixed. Some evidence suggests that smoking delays the healing of gastric and duodenal ulcers. Other studies have found no increased risk for ulcers in smokers.
Tobacco use and exposure may accelerate coronary artery disease and peptic ulcer disease. It is also linked to reproductive problems, esophageal reflux, hypertension, fetal illness and death, and delayed wound healing.
What Is Rectal Bleeding
Although its alarming to find blood in the toilet bowl or on your toilet paper, you probably dont need to worry. Bloody stools should be addressed, but there are many reasons for rectal bleeding that dont warrant an emergency visit to the doctor.
Rectal bleeding is a blanket term that healthcare providers use to talk about any blood that leaves your body from your rectum. This doesnt mean that your rectum is the source of your bleeding the blood could be coming from anywhere in your gut. Another term for this condition is gastrointestinal tract bleeding.
Donât Miss: What Makes Stomach Ulcers Feel Better
Recommended Reading: Hiv Ulcers In Mouth Pictures
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.
Dont Miss: How Do You Heal Leg Ulcers
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.
Dont Miss: What Is Good For Stomach Acid Reflux
Read Also: Can You Cure Ulcerative Colitis Naturally
What Exactly Is A Stomach Ulcer
Stomach, or peptic, ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside lining of your stomach or the upper portion of your small intestine. This occurs when the thick layer of mucus that protects your stomach from digestive juices is diminished, which then enables digestive acids to eat away at the tissues that line your stomach, causing an ulcer.
According to Medscape, peptic ulcers are almost equally as common in men and women.
There are two types of peptic ulcers:
Also Check: Common Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcer
What Causes Mouth Ulcers
The exact cause of mouth ulcers is unknown. But there are several factors that can contribute to the development of these sores:
- Minor tissue injury from dental work, such as having a cavity filled.
- Accidentally biting your cheek or tongue.
- Allergic reaction to certain bacteria.
- Viral, bacterial or fungal infections.
Read Also: Sacral Decubitus Ulcer Stage 4 Icd 10
Risk Factors For H Pylori
H pylori bacteria are most likely transmitted directly from person to person. Yet little is known about exactly how these bacteria are transmitted.
About 50% of the world’s population is infected with H pylori. The bacteria are nearly always acquired during childhood and persist throughout life if not treated. The prevalence in children is around 0.5% in industrialized nations, where rates continue to decline. Even in industrialized countries, however, infection rates in regions with crowded, unsanitary conditions are equal to those in developing countries.
It is not entirely clear how the bacteria are transmitted. Suggested, but not clearly proven, methods of transmission include:
- Intimate contact, including contact with fluids from the mouth
- GI tract illness
- Contact with stool
- Sewage-contaminated water
Although H pylori infection is common, ulcers in children are very rare, and only 5% to 10% of H pylori-infected adults develop ulcers. Some factors that may explain why certain infected patients get ulcers include:
- Being infected with H pylori
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Diabetic Ulcer On Toe
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
Ulcers Can Lead To Internal Bleeding And Death
Stomach ulcers must be treated because they can lead to dangerous and even life-threatening conditions. Ulcers can bleed, and often the bleeding isnt immediately noticeable. If the bleeding becomes severe, it can be potentially fatal.
Further, its possible for an ulcer to perforate the stomach wall completely, leaking the contents of your stomach into your abdominal cavity. This is a critical condition that can result in widespread infection in the abdomen, called peritonitis. The infection can spread to your bloodstream , which can lead to organ failure or death. You have to address these issues. Again, the first step is to go to your doctor.
Recommended Reading: Is Honey Good For Ulcerative Colitis