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.
Also Check: Can Ulcerative Colitis Cause Positive Ana
What Heartburn Feels Like
You get this problem when stomach acid moves into a tube called the esophagus, which carries food from your mouth to the stomach. When that happens, you could have a burning pain in your chest. Your throat might burn, and you could have a sour taste in your mouth or a cough. You may also hear it called GERD , which is heartburn that happens often. But other conditions can have similar symptoms.
Key Points About Peptic Ulcers
You May Like: Will A Stomach Ulcer Cause Bloating
What Tests Are There For A Stomach Ulcer
If your doctor thinks you may have a stomach ulcer, the initial tests will include some blood tests. These tests will help to check whether you have become anaemic because of any bleeding from the ulcer. The blood test will also check to see that your liver and pancreas are working properly.
The main tests that are then used to diagnose a stomach ulcer are as follows:
- A test to detect the H. pylori germ is usually done if you have a stomach ulcer. The H. pylori bacterium can be detected in a sample of stool , or in a breath test, or from a blood test, or from a biopsy sample taken during a gastroscopy. See the separate leaflet called Helicobacter Pylori for more details.
- Gastroscopy is the test that can confirm a stomach ulcer. Gastroscopy is usually done as an outpatient day case. You may be given a sedative to help you to relax. In this test, a doctor looks inside your stomach by passing a thin, flexible telescope down your gullet . The doctor will then be able to see any inflammation or ulcers in your stomach.
- Small samples are usually taken of the tissue in and around the ulcer during gastroscopy. These are sent to the laboratory to be looked at under the microscope. This is important because some ulcers are caused by stomach cancer. However, most stomach ulcers are not caused by cancer.
Read Also: Can Ulcerative Colitis Cause Body Aches
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.
You May Like: How To Prevent Venous Ulcers
Signs You May Have An Ulcer
Did you know that stomach ulcers also called peptic ulcers affect at least 1 in 10 Americans over the course of their lives? And while stomach ulcers can be treated easily when caught early, lack of medical care can lead to serious complications.
Understanding the signs of stomach ulcers is important in helping you get the treatment you need. At Prima Medicine in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, our care team has the experience and knowledge to diagnose and treat stomach ulcers. Weve curated this guide to help you recognize the warning signs of an ulcer and understand what you can do about it.
Making Lifestyle Changes To Relieve Ulcer Pain
You May Like: Can You Take Tylenol With Stomach Ulcers
Can Stomach Ulcers Give You Acid Reflux
Thereâs a lot of confusion about the relationship between ulcers and acid reflux . Do ulcers cause acid reflux? Or does acid reflux cause ulcers?
Well, ulcers wonât give you reflux . However, chronic reflux can worsen or even cause ulcers.
Letâs get a little background here. An ulcer is a sore or hole in your digestive tract, while acid reflux is the term for your stomach acid flowing back up into your esophagus .
Acid reflux can be caused by a variety of factors, such as trigger foods, a hiatal hernia, or lifestyle risks like smoking or being overweight.
In contrast, according to the American College of Gastroenterology, the two most common causes of ulcers are a bacterium in the stomach called Helicobacter pylori , which can cause inflammation of the stomach lining that ultimately produces an ulcer, and a group of pain treatment medications called Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs , such as AdvilÂ®, AleveÂ®, and ibuprofen..
While chronic reflux isnât generally pointed to as one of the primary causes of ulcers, there definitely is a strong association between ulcers and GERD. One study found that nearly 50% of patients with an ulcer also had GERD. Thatâs because frequent backwards flow of acid can erode your esophagus or stomach lining â which doesnât do you any favors as far as ulcers are concerned.
What Causes An Ulcer And Whos At Risk
Dr. Terry Simpson, Weight Loss Surgeon and Culinary Medicine Specialist with Dignity Health St. Johns Hospital says, The vast majority of stomach ulcers are caused by a bacteria called Helicobactor pylori which was discovered in the 1980s. Prior to this time we thought ulcers were caused by stress, or acid, or many things. For the discovery of this bacteria the Nobel Prize was awarded. Because it is caused by a bacteria, it can be spread by kissing. So even if you get your H pylori treated, if your sweetie doesnt you can get re-infected. So the risks are those who have the infection, which is present in many people.
Other things that can cause ulcers include a lot of over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Tylenol does not cause ulcers. Smoking and vaping are high risk behaviors for ulcers. We know from many studies that heavy smokers are more likely to get duodenal ulcers than non smokers. The duodenum is the first bit of bowel past the stomach. Cancers can also cause ulcers. We used to think that dieting caused ulcers, but it doesnt. Certain foods can be worse for ulcer pain, especially alcohol, spicy foods, and fatty foods.
MD FACS General Surgeon and Gastrointestinal specialist at Dignity Health St. Mary Hospital, CEO of Lalezari Surgical adds, Anyone can be affected by ulcers but it is more common in patients taking chronic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid medications and smokers.
Read Also: Foods For People With Ulcerative Colitis
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 Are The Possible Complications Of Peptic Ulcer Disease
An ulcer left untreated may cause serious complications, including:
- Internal bleeding: While most people with ulcers wont have bleeding, this is the most common complication that can occur. A slow bleeding ulcer can cause anemia or even severe blood loss.
- Perforation: An ulcer that is continuously eroded by acid can eventually become a hole in the stomach or intestinal wall. This is intensely painful and also dangerous. It allows bacteria from the digestive tract to enter the abdominal cavity, which can lead to an infection of the abdominal cavity called peritonitis. From there, the infection is at risk of spreading to the rest of the body . This can lead to a life-threatening condition called .
- Obstruction: An ulcer in the pyloric channel, the narrow passageway that leads from the stomach into the duodenum, can become an obstruction that blocks the flow of food into the small intestine. This can happen after the ulcer has healed. Ulcers that have gone through a healing process may build up scar tissue that enlarges them. An ulcer that is big enough to obstruct the small intestine can stall the digestive process, with numerous side effects.
- Stomach cancer: Some gastric ulcers can become malignant over time. This is more likely when your ulcer is caused by H. pylori infection. H. pylori is a contributing cause of gastric cancer, though fortunately this is uncommon.
You May Like: What To Do If You Have Ulcerative Colitis
Don’t Miss: Natural Remedies For Stomach Ulcers In Humans
How Do I Know If I Have An Ulcer Or Gastritis
There are several distinctions between the two conditions. Both conditions cause stomach lining inflammation, but gastritis is a generalized inflammation, while an ulcer is a patch of inflamed stomach lining. Ulcers cause intense, localized pain which can lead to cancer, bleeding, and stomach perforation.
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.
Don’t Miss: Can You Drink Coffee With Ulcerative Colitis
How Can I Be Sure Its An Ulcer
The only way to be sure an ulcer is causing your discomfort is with a medical diagnosis. We will evaluate your medical history and conduct a thorough physical examination.
To determine the root cause of your ulcer, we may run blood, stool, or breath tests. These tests are designed to look for signs of helicobacter pylori, the bacteria linked to ulcers.
Depending on your unique symptoms, we may also order an endoscopy. During an endoscopy, we insert a tube with a tiny camera down your throat and into your stomach to take pictures of any potential damage and collect tissue samples for analysis.
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.
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Ulcerative Colitis From Stress
What Causes Peptic Ulcers
Ulcers form when digestive juices damage the walls of the stomach or small intestine. If the mucus layer gets too thin or your stomach makes too much acid, your gut will feel it. The two major causes are:
- Bacteria. Itâs called Helicobacter pylori , and as many as half of us carry it. Most people infected with H. pylori do not get ulcers. But in others, it can raise the amount of acid, break down the protective mucus layer, and irritate the digestive tract. Experts arenât sure how H. pylori infection spreads. They think it may pass from person to person through close contact, like kissing. You may also get it from unclean food and water.
- Certain pain relievers. If youâve been taking aspirin often and for a long time, youâre more likely to get a peptic ulcer. The same is true for other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . They include ibuprofen and naproxen. NSAIDs block your body from making a chemical that helps protect the inner walls of your stomach and small intestine from stomach acid. Other types of pain meds, such as acetaminophen, wonât lead to peptic ulcers.
- Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol also can make you more likely to get ulcers. Stress and eating a lot of spicy food donât cause ulcers, as experts once thought. But they can make ulcers worse and harder to treat.
Verywell / Ellen Lindner
Youve Had Unexplained Vomiting
From time to time, nausea brought on by ulcers may become so intense that it could actually cause you to vomit. If that happens, stay away from medications like ibuprofen and aspirin. According to Dr. Sengupta, these over-the-counter pain medications actually put you at a higher risk of developing ulcersor make your current ulcers worse.
Also Check: Specific Carbohydrate Diet Ulcerative Colitis
Causes Of Duodenal Ulcers
Your stomach makes a strong acid that kills germs and helps you digest food. To protect themselves against this acid, cells of the stomach and duodenum make a barrier from mucus. If this barrier is damaged, an ulcer can form.
The main cause of this damage is infection with bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori. The bacteria can cause the lining of your duodenum to become inflamed and an ulcer can form.
Some medications can also cause a duodenal ulcer, particularly anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Rarely, other medicines or medical conditions might cause an ulcer.
Itâs possible that you are more likely to get a duodenal ulcer if you smoke, drink a lot of alcohol or you are stressed, but these things are less important than infection with H. pylori.
How Do I Know If I Have An Ulcer
Describing your symptoms may lead your doctor to suspect that you have a peptic ulcer, but it wonât likely help determine the type, because the symptoms of stomach and duodenal ulcers are so similar. The doctor will do tests like these to figure out which specific type of ulcer you have:
- Endoscopy. This is the most accurate diagnostic test to diagnose a peptic ulcer. The doctor puts a flexible tube down your throat to see inside your esophagus , stomach, and duodenum. This allows the doctor to see the cause of bleeding and test for any bacterial infection. During this exam, your doctor may also do a biopsy to check for cancer.
- Barium swallow. If you cant have an endoscopy, this test, also called an upper GI series of X-rays, can help your doctor identify and locate the ulcer and determine its type and severity. The test requires you to drink a barium milkshake, which has a liquid that will show up on an X-ray. They may ask you to eat only bland, easy-to-digest foods for 2-3 days before the test. After drinking the chalky liquid, you lie down on a tilting exam table. This evenly spreads the barium around your upper digestive tract and lets the X-ray take pictures at different angles.
Also Check: Does Imodium Help Ulcerative Colitis