How Is A Peptic Ulcer Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, whether you take NSAIDs and other drugs, and medical history. Theyâll also check you for bloating in the belly and pain. That may be enough to make a diagnosis.
The only way your doctor can tell for sure if you have an ulcer is to look. They may use a series of X-rays or a test called an endoscopy. This test allows them to pass a thin, bendy tube down your throat and into your stomach and small intestine. The tube has a camera at the end so they can check the lining for ulcers. They may also take a small piece of the lining to test for H. pylori. Blood, breath, and stool sample tests also can screen for the bacteria.
How Can You Help Prevent An Ulcer
Dr. Simpson advises, First you shouldnt try to treat an ulcer on your own. If you think you have one see your doctor, and you should undergo a test called an endoscopy where they look into your stomach to see if you have a problem. When they look in your stomach they will take a biopsy to see if you have the bacteria, and if you have it they will use antibiotics to treat it. Drinking more than two drinks a day can also cause an ulcer, by disrupting the mucosa of the stomach.
According to Dr. Lalezari, As always an ounce of prevention is better than a gallon of cure so its best to follow a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and a diet high in healthy fiber to prevent ulcer disease. Avoiding prolonged use of NSAIDS, and smoking will also help prevent ulcers from forming. Lastly, taking a few minutes each day to meditate and exercise can help decrease stress levels and help prevent a pesky ulcer from developing.
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Peptic Ulcer Disease Symptoms
Symptoms of peptic ulcer disease may be similar to other upper gastrointestinal conditions. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
- Pain radiating to the back
- Burning or gnawing feeling similar to hunger pains
- Pain aggravated by meals
- Pain relieved by meals
Because the symptoms of peptic ulcer disease are often nonspecific, it is important that you see a gastroenterologist for diagnosis.
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Why Do Stomach Ulcers Bleed
Stomach ulcers are open sores in the wall of the stomach. It is more likely to occur when a person uses large amounts of pain relievers and other drugs for long periods of time, or when there is an infection with a certain type of bacteria known as H.pylori . People who consume alcohol and smoke tobacco are at a greater risk. However, these open sores do not always bleed. A person can live with ulcers for months and even years, despite the pain and other digestive symptoms.
Bleeding ulcers is often associated with H.pylori infection. The bacteria has the ability to withstand the strong stomach acid and digestive enzymes. It burrows into the stomach wall tissue and can penetrate deeper into it. In the process it weakens and even destroys the blood vessels in the stomach wall. This results in a bleeding ulcer. The severity of the bleed depends on the blood vessels that is affected and the severity of the damage.
Read more on causes of stomach bleeding.
How Will Your Doctor Diagnose Ulcers
Your doctor will start by asking about your medical history and symptoms. Let your doctor know when and where you most often have symptoms.
Gastric and duodenal ulcers can cause pain in different parts of your abdomen. A variety of tests will usually be recommended since abdominal pain has many causes.
If your doctor thinks H. pylori may be the source of your symptoms, the following tests can confirm or rule out this possibility:
- A blood test. The presence of certain infection-fighting cells could mean you have an H. pylori infection.
- A stool antigen test. In this test, a stool sample is sent to a lab for testing. The test looks for certain proteins in the stool related to H. pylori.
- A urea breath test. A urea breath test involves swallowing a pill that contains a special formulation of urea. You breathe into a collection bag before and after swallowing the pill, and then your carbon dioxide levels are measured. When H. pylori is present, the urea in the pill is broken down into a certain type of carbon dioxide that can be detected.
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Diagnosis Of Stomach Ulcers
To help the doctor diagnose stomach ulcers, you need to explain in detail the symptoms experienced, including the location of the appearance of pain in the stomach. He will also find out about his medical history and examine the abdomen by pressing on different areas of the abdomen to see if there is a sensitive area of the abdomen, pain when pressed, or pain under pressure.
If the doctor suspects a specific medical condition as the cause of stomach ulcers, then he can recommend diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, endoscopy, tests to diagnose H pylori bacterial infections, liver function tests, and X-rays.
Here are 3 complications related to stomach ulcers:
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Pathophysiology Of H Pylori
H. pylori, a gram-negative, helical, rod-shaped bacterium, colonizes the gastric mucosa of approximately one-half of the world population2 and an estimated 30% to 40% of the U.S. population.3H. pylori is present in 95% of patients with duodenal ulcers and in 70% of those with gastric ulcers.4 It is typically transmitted via the fecal-oral route during early childhood and persists for decades. The bacterium is a known cause of gastric and duodenal ulcers5 and is a risk factor for mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma and gastric adenocarcinoma.6,7
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Nsaids And Stomach Ulcers
NSAIDs carry a risk of stomach ulcers. The two most popular 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 available on prescription, carry a greater risk of stomach ulcers than those that people can buy over the counter.
A person should always check labels and consult a pharmacist or a doctor about any concerns regarding using pain relief medication. They may recommend an alternative, such as acetaminophen.
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.
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Could I Have An Ulcer And Not Know It
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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.
How Do You Diagnose Stomach Ulcers
You should see a doctor if your symptoms arent resolving, or if over-the-counter antacids are only working temporarily.
When evaluating patients for stomach ulcers, our gastroenterologists start by taking a detailed patient history and a review of symptoms. Tests we may use to diagnose stomach ulcers include:
- Upper endoscopy, in which the gastroenterologist inserts a special endoscope into the patients mouth to inspect the stomach for ulcers
- Blood, breath, or stool tests to screen for H. pylori
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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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What Are The Symptoms Of A Stomach Ulcer
Most people with a stomach ulcer do not experience any symptoms. The most common symptom is burning pain in the upper abdomen. The pain can travel to the chest and neck, bellybutton, or back.
Other less common symptoms include:
- feeling full and bloated, or belching
- not being able to tolerate fatty foods
Sometimes, stomach ulcers can lead to more serious symptoms, such as:
- a sudden sharp pain in the stomach that gets worse
- blood in your stool or black, tarry stools
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.
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Soothe The Stomach With Bananas
Bananas can help heal a stomach ulcer by promoting cellular proliferation in the stomach. In addition to this, there are certain antibacterial compounds in bananas that inhibit the growth of ulcer-causing H. pylori. Bananas also help reduce inflammation and strengthen the stomach lining.
A 1986 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology suggests that banana powder treatment not only strengthens mucosal resistance against ulcerogens but also promotes healing by inducing cellular proliferation.
A 2001 study published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology suggests that the antioxidant activity of bananas may be involved in its ulcer-protective activity.
In a 2013 study published in Pharmacognosy Research, researchers suggest that the anti-ulcer effect of banana may be due to its antisecretory and cytoprotective activity. The healing of the ulcer base might be connected to the basic fibroblast growth factors responsible for epithelial regeneration in the case of acid-induced ulcers.
Both ripe and unripe bananas are very effective in treating a stomach ulcer.
- Simply eat at least 3 ripe bananas a day.
- Alternatively, peel 2 or 3 bananas and cut them into thin slices. Put the banana slices in the sun until they dry. Now, grind the dry pieces into a fine powder. Mix together 2 tablespoons of this powder and 1 tablespoon of honey. Take this mixture 3 times a day for 1 week.
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.
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Symptoms Of Ulcers In Horses
If your horse is showing signs of an ulcer, make an appointment with your veterinarian. There are many different symptoms of ulcers therefore, it is important to observe your horse and note any different signs or behaviors. Symptoms may include:
- Colic after eating
- Agitation, as if in pain
There are several different types of digestive ailments that can affect horses. Like ulcers, these conditions can cause pain and discomfort within the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Types include:
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
See your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Vomiting blood or dark material that looks like coffee grounds
- Extreme weakness or dizziness
- Blood in your stools
- Nausea or vomiting that doesnt get better, or gets worse
- A sudden, severe pain that may spread to your back
- Losing weight without even trying
Untreated peptic ulcers may cause other health problems. Sometimes they bleed. If they become too deep, they can break through your stomach.
Ulcers can also keep food from going through your stomach.
How Are Infected Leg Ulcers Treated
The first step in treating an infected leg ulcer is to get rid of the infection. An antibiotic will usually be prescribed to treat the infection. Sometimes the wound may need to be medically cleaned in order to remove any dirt or bacteria that is in the wound.
In addition to treating the infection, your healthcare team will focus on improving circulation, preventing future infections, and healing the open wound. Other common treatment recommendations include:
- Wearing compression stockings or bandages to help improve circulation
- Keeping leg raised to help improve blood circulation
- Cleaning the wound
- Surgical options to improve circulation
Getting proper treatment for a leg ulcer can help prevent it from becoming infected. If you suspect a wound on your leg may be a leg ulcer, call Vein911 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Pittman.
Dr. Pittman can help with the diagnosis and treatment of leg ulcers. He is also experienced in treating other venous problems include varicose veins, finding the cause of lymphedema, and DVT. Call the office today to schedule an appointment.
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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.
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 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.