Do You Have A Stomach Ulcer
If you suspect that you have a stomach ulcer, it is beyond important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. As you can tell from the symptoms listed above, things can only get worse if your ulcer goes untreated. Call the experts at West Gastroenterology in Los Angeles today and make an appointment!
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Do Stress Ulcers Go Away
The healing of a stomach ulcer is facilitated by the fact that the cells forming the stomach wall have a high turnover rate, one that is increased in those with ulcers. This makes sense because the cells in this environment are exposed to acids, large muscle movements as the food is churned, different spices, foods of various textures, etcetera. This means cells can ‘wear out’ quickly and need to be replaced. The larger danger occurs when the tissue is ulcerated for so long, that the cells begin to mutate, potentially placing you at a higher risk of developing stomach cancer.
However, if the tissue hasn’t reached a state with mutations, then given enough time and with a reduction in stress, the tissue will eventually return to its pre-ulcerated state.
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.
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Burning Pain In Your Abdomen
This may seem like a no-brainer but the most common sign that people experience when they have a stomach ulcer is a persistent burning pain in their abdomen. This sensation occurs when juices in the stomach used for digestion come into contact with the open sore. For the most part, the pain is felt from the breastbone to navel and is often worse at night than during the day. On the other hand, if you are someone who frequently skips meals, you may find that you experience this pain much throughout the daytime.
Your Appetite Went Mia
For many patients with ulcers, the condition can actually result in a loss of appetite. This drop in food intake, combined with occasional vomiting, may lead to unexpected weight loss. Some ulcer patients report eating their normal amount of food, yet still lose weight, so the ulcer itself may cause a drop on the scale, too.
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You Have Pain Specifically In Your Upper Abdomen
One of the most common ulcer symptoms is a severe pain in the upper abdomen, according to Neil Sengupta, MD, a gastroenterology specialist at the University of Chicago. Ulcers can develop anywhere in the upper digestive track, but Dr. Sengupta says we often think about those occurring in the stomach or small intestine, where we feel pain. This pain usually occurs between the breastbone and belly button, and can bring on a burning, aching, or dull feeling. The sensation may begin as a light, mild pain but often progresses into something more serious as the ulcers develop.
What Are Peptic Ulcers And How Are They Caused
Duodenal ulcers are common in the middle-aged and in men, whereas stomach ulcers are common in the elderly and in women.1
Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum when the protective mucus overlaying this lining is eroded.
The acid-resistant gut mucosa can be compromised because of:
- An H. Pylori bacterial infection2: This infection disrupts the integrity of the muscosal lining.
- Long-term use of NSAIDs 3: NSAIDS include common OTC drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome4: In this condition,abnormal gastrin secretion by tumors in the duodenum or pancreas cause stomach acids to be produced in excess of the normal. High concentrations of acid become too overbearing for the mucosal layer to counteract.
Whatever the reason for erosion of mucus, it leaves the stomach and duodenal lining exposed, vulnerable, and at the mercy of strong stomach acids.
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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.
You Bleed When You Use The Bathroom
Blood coming from the gastrointestinal tract can signal a variety of underlying health issues, but Dr. Sengupta says when this bleeding is combined with upper abdominal pain, hes highly suspicious that its one of the signs of an ulcer. Many patients notice this blood either when vomiting, or when using the bathroom, as their stools may appear black. If you notice youre suffering from a bleeding GI tract, along with nausea and pain in the stomach or chest, Dr. Sengupta says doctors will often perform a blood test or an upper endoscopywhere they use a camera to look into the stomach itselfto check if an ulcer is the culprit. Blood in your stool can also be due to hemorrhoids or a symptom of colon cancer, so its a good idea to get checked out by your doctor.
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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 To Get Rid Of Abdominal Bloating And Nausea
They include: 1 eating a bland diet of toast, broth-based soups, baked chicken, rice, pudding, gelatin, and cooked fruits and vegetables 2 exercising regularly, which helps reduce gas in the intestinal tract while also preventing constipation 3 refraining from smoking 4 avoiding carbonated beverages and chewing gum
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Peptic Ulcers Are Often Symptomless
About 30 percent of 60 year olds with confirmed peptic ulcer disease have no abdominal pain.24 This means 1 in 3 old people without the slightest hint of the major symptom of peptic ulcers actually have them.
As if it was not already challenging to diagnose what cannot be seen, sometimes individuals suffering from peptic ulcers do not experience any symptoms.
Older people and children are, unfortunately, at a higher risk of belonging to this no-symptoms niche. This increases the likelihood of a delayed diagnosis and grave complications like perforation and internal bleeding.
Another group of individuals who may struggle with identifying peptic ulcers are those who are heavily dependent on NSAIDs. Even though abdominal pain is the most prominent indicator of peptic ulcers, such is not always the case. To our dismay, 1 in 3 people with peptic ulcers dont have any abdominal pain, particularly those popping NSAIDs.252627 This resonates with research findings that NSAIDs mask the symptoms of peptic ulcers.28 It is, thus, advisable to exercise caution if you need to regularly take these painkillers to treat other conditions.
Having no symptoms or weak symptoms, hence, does not rule out the possibility of peptic ulcers.
What Is The Treatment For Ulcers
If you have ulcer symptoms, see your doctor. Prompt treatment can prevent excessive bleeding and other complications.
Ulcers are usually diagnosed after an upper GI endoscopy . An endoscope is a long flexible tube with a light and camera on the end. The tube is inserted into your throat, then to the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine. Learn how to prepare for an endoscopy here.
Generally performed as an outpatient procedure, it allows the doctor to locate and identify problems in the stomach and upper intestine.
Bleeding ulcers must be addressed quickly, and treatment can start during the initial endoscopy. If bleeding from ulcers is found during the endoscopy, the doctor can:
- inject medication directly
- cauterize the ulcer to stop the bleeding
- clamp off the bleeding vessel
If you have an ulcer, youll be tested for H. pylori. This can be done using a tissue sample taken during the endoscopy. It can also be accomplished with noninvasive tests such as a stool sample or breath test.
If you have the infection, antibiotics and other drugs can help fight the bacteria and ease symptoms. To be certain you get rid of it, you must finish taking the medication as directed, even if your symptoms stop.
If your ulcers are the result of taking too many NSAIDs, work with your doctor to find another medication to treat pain.
Over-the-counter antacids sometimes relieve symptoms. Ask your doctor if its okay to take antacids.
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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.
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:
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What Exactly Are Stomach Ulcersand How Do You Get One
An ulcer is a break in the lining of the stomach, David Greenwald, MD, a professor of medicine and gastroenterology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York tells Health. The best way to imagine this, he says, is to picture the lining of your stomach as the inside of your cheekpink and moist. An ulcer is a crack or sore in that lining.
These stomach ulcersalso called peptic ulcershappen when the acids that help you digest food damage the lining of your stomach or duodenum , according to the US National Library of Medicine . That acid erosion is caused by a few different things, but 90% of all stomach ulcers can be boiled down to two causes: An infection of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori and anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen.
As far as stress goes, however, saying it’s the cause of ulcers is a myth, says Dr. Greenwald. At least, thats untrue when were talking emotional stress. Emotional stress doesnt cause ulcers, per se. it does lead people to have upset stomach, says Dr. Greenwald. However, physiological stress can lead to ulcer formation, according to Dr. Greenwald. Stress, howeveralong with spicy foodscan make ulcers worse, per the USNLM.
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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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:
Nsaid Drugs And Stomach Ulcers
A group of painkillers known as NSAIDs carries a risk of stomach ulcers. The two best-known NSAIDs are aspirin and ibuprofen.
The risk of ulcers increases if the drugs are taken in high doses, or regularly for a long time.
Stronger NSAIDs, such as those that need a prescription, are riskier for stomach ulcers than those that can be bought over-the-counter .
People should always check labels and talk to a pharmacist or a doctor about any concerns with using painkillers. They may recommend an alternative such as acetaminophen.
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As You Wake And Feel The Sun Shining Into Your Room Your Brain Decides That This Is The Perfect Moment To Start Reminding You Of The 3000 Tasks You Have To Complete Today
You can feel your breathing and heart rate increase, your stomach start churning, all while a light sweat breaks out on your face lending a sheen to your complexion that reflects the morning light. This is not how you planned to start your morning. What if there were worse conditions and symptoms lurking at bay, also related to stress? Let’s find out.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcer
- The most concerning sign is coughing or vomiting blood as it indicates that the erosion of the stomach wall is quite far along.
- Another sign could include dark stools as a result of blood that has been processed through the digestive tract and is now being excreted in the stool, more formally known as melena.
- Weight loss in extreme cases as the pain affects appetite.
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How Do You Treat Stress Ulcers
Mindfulness could be part of a protocol to help heal the ulcerated tissue and improve symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain. Women participating in an 8-week course where they practiced mindfulness-based stress reduction experienced a 26.4% reduction in their symptoms and when researchers followed-up after 3 months, these same women had now experienced a 38.2% reduction in symptoms. MBSR has also been shown to stabilize cortisol rhythms which fluctuate throughout a 24-hour period, otherwise known as the stress hormone.
Diet can play a large role as well with certain foods demonstrating ulcer-fighting properties, mostly in animal studies. S-methylmethionine is a compound that can be found in abundance in cabbage and has been shown to have anti-ulcerogenic properties. Some research has demonstrated an ability to accelerate the healing of ulcers, and in another study where conventional treatment failed, -86% of recruited patients found relief from pain within two weeks of starting to take cabbage juice.
Peptic Ulcer Disease Vs Angina
Usually, it’s not particularly difficult for a healthcare provider to distinguish chest pain caused by peptic ulcer disease from angina caused by coronary artery disease . The characteristics of the two types of pain are usually quite different.
Peptic ulcer pain is not induced by exercise and relieved by rest . The gnawing pain accompanied by bloating and nausea is quite different from that of typical angina.
Nonetheless, because angina itself can have a noncardiac presentation, it may become important to do confirmatory tests to pin down the diagnosis.
Endoscopy is the favored method of diagnosis of peptic ulcer disease, especially in people who have evidence of bleeding or have had severe symptoms.
Testing for the presence of Helicobacter pylori may also be helpful. X-rays of the upper digestive system may also be recommended.
If your healthcare provider is concerned about the possibility of CAD, a stress test may be helpful in distinguishing between these two problems.
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