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.
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.
When Should I Call The Doctor
- sudden, sharp, lasting belly pain
- bloody or black bowel movements
- bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
These could be signs of a serious problem for a child whos had a peptic ulcer, such as:
If your child takes NSAIDs and shows signs of a peptic ulcer, get medical help right away. Delaying diagnosis and treatment can lead to more problems and, possibly, the need for surgery. But with quick treatment, almost all peptic ulcers can be cured.
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When Should You Call Or See A Doctor
If you think you have a stomach ulcer, call your doctor. Together you can discuss your symptoms and treatment options. If you dont already have a physician, you can use the Healthline FindCare tool to find a provider near you.
Its important to get a stomach ulcer taken care of because without treatment, ulcers and H. pylori can cause:
- bleeding from the ulcer site that can become life-threatening
- penetration, which occurs when the ulcer goes through the wall of the digestive tract and into another organ, such as the pancreas
- perforation, which occurs when the ulcer creates a hole in the wall of the digestive tract
- obstruction in the digestive tract, which is due to swelling of inflamed tissues
- stomach cancer, specifically
Symptoms of these complications can include those listed below. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to call you doctor right away:
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Cure : Foods For Stomach Ulcers
Foods for Ulcer, Weird isnt it? Yes, foods could actually prevent/cure Stomach Ulcer. One could say the primary culprit in the case of stomach ulcers could be narrowed down to food and food habits. Eating certain foods such as foods that contain nitrates could fuel your infection. However, eating certain foods could also help you prevent and even cure your stomach ulcer.
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What Is A Stomach Ulcer
A stomach ulcer, also called a gastric ulcer, is an open sore that develops in your stomach lining. You can also get one in your duodenum, the first part of the small intestine that your stomach feeds into. Duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers are both types of peptic ulcers. Theyre named for pepsin, one of the digestive juices that are found in the stomach and that sometimes leak into the duodenum. These juices are a contributing factor in peptic ulcer disease.
Peptic ulcers occur when the protective mucous lining in your stomach and duodenum has been eroded, allowing gastric acids and digestive enzymes to eat away at your stomach and duodenal walls. This eventually results in open sores that are continually irritated by the acid. If left untreated, they can begin to cause serious complications, such as internal bleeding. Over time, they can even wear a hole all the way through. This is a medical emergency.
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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How Acid Reflux Damages The Esophagus And Possible Complications
How GERD May Damage the Esophagus
The acid regurgitation can lead to a condition called esophagitis. Esophagitis is characterized by inflammation of the esophagus that often leads to ulcers, scar tissue, erosions, and difficulty in swallowing that cause pain and discomfort and even more acid regurgitation.
The condition can be diagnosed by your doctor by conducting an upper endoscopy and biopsy. Treatment begins immediately once the diagnosis is conclusive and you test positive for esophagitis.
Complications of Untreated GERD and Esophagitis
GERD should be treated immediately it is suspected. When left untreated GERD and esophagitis will corrode the esophagus further causing damage such as:
- Esophageal stricture this is narrowing of the esophagus caused by scar tissues from the effects of GERD. This constriction causes a great deal of pain and difficulty in swallowing and sometimes food is caught in the throat. This poses a great health risk and needs treatment as soon as possible.
- Esophageal ringsthese are rings formed from abnormal folding of the tissue in the lining of the esophagus. These rings can constrict the esophagus causing difficulty in swallowing.
- Barretts esophagusthis is a condition resulting from damage of the cells in the esophagus overtime. This damage causes the cells in the esophagus to become similar to the cells in the stomach lining. The condition usually has no symptoms and poses a risk of esophageal cancer.
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
- 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.
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What Is A Peptic Ulcer
A peptic ulcer is a sore or hole that forms in the lining of the stomach or intestine.
The word peptic refers to the digestive tract. An ulcer in the lining of the stomach is a gastric ulcer. An ulcer in the first part of the small intestine is a duodenal ulcer.
The lining of the stomach is a layer of special cells and mucous. Mucous prevents the stomach and duodenum from being damaged by acid and digestive enzymes.
If there is a break in the lining , the tissue under the lining can be damaged by the enzymes and corrosive acid. If the ulcer is small, there may be few symptoms. The wound can heal on its own.
If the ulcer is deep, it can cause serious pain or bleeding. Rarely, acids in the digestive juices may eat completely through the stomach or duodenum wall.
Peptic ulcers are very common. They become more common as people age.
The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is believed to cause most peptic ulcers. This bacteria causes inflammation in the stomach lining. This probably makes the lining vulnerable. But only a minority of people infected with H. pylori develop ulcers.
NSAIDs block the formation of some prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemicals that normally help protect against ulcers. With less prostaglandins, ulcers are more likely to form.
- Excessive alcohol use
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How Stomach Ulcers Are Treated
Treatment will depend on what caused the ulcer.
Most people will be prescribed a medication called a proton pump inhibitor to reduce the amount of acid in their stomach.
Youll also need antibiotics if your ulcers were caused by a H. pylori infection.
Stomach ulcers can come back after treatment, although this is less likely to happen if the underlying cause is addressed.
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+ Natural Ways To Manage Esophagitis Self
The type of esophagitis treatment you pursue should be tailored to the diagnosis you have. For example, avoiding NSAIDs wont make eosinophilic esophagitis go away. Work with your health care provider to come up with a plan for natural treatments for your specific type of esophagitis to help boost digestive health and immunity, in some cases.
Natural Reflux Esophagitis Self-Care
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 wonÃ¢t 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.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have stomach ulcers, you may want to ask your doctor:
- What pain reliever can I use instead of an NSAID?
- How will I know if the H. pylori infection is gone?
- How do we find out if the ulcer has healed?
- What can I do relieve symptoms at home during treatment?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Contrary to commonly held beliefs, ulcers arent caused by stress or foods you eat. Most of time, bacteria causes them. Doctors can treat the bacteria with antibiotics and other medications.
If youve been popping a lot of antacids lately, youre constantly snacking to get rid of a gnawing pain in your stomach or you have any other signs of an ulcer, the best thing you can do for your health is talk to your provider. Treatment can heal an ulcer in a matter of weeks.
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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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Foods To Avoid With An Ulcer
When you have an ulcer, it is important to avoid foods that can worsen it or cause increased pain. Common examples include:
- Herbs and spices
- Probiotic-rich foods
Coffee has long been believed to make ulcers worse. Because coffee is acidic, it may exacerbate the pain caused by an ulcer. Talk with your healthcare provider about coffee and ask if there is a safe amount to enjoy while the ulcer heals.
Can Vascular Ulcers Be Cured
In many cases, its possible to heal a vascular ulcer. However, the likelihood of healing the ulcer depends on how severe it has become, so early treatment of vascular ulcers is critical to a good outcome.
Its also essential to address the underlying problem that caused the ulcer. Your provider will likely recommend not just care for the ulcer but also for underlying health problems you have. Some of their recommendations will involve lifestyle changes that will help reduce your risk of another ulcer. The changes should also help improve your quality of life overall.
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When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may want to call your healthcare provider right away:
- Fever of 100.4Â° F or higher
- Severe belly pain
- Frequent nausea or vomiting that looks like bloody coffee grounds
- Dark, tarry, or bloody stools. Dark stools can be indicative of hemorrhage, or internal bleeding that is discoloring your stool.
Of note, mid-esophageal ulcers have a greater tendency to hemorrhage compared with ulcers at the gastroesophageal junction, but there is no way to know that based on your symptoms alone, so if you feel any chronic symptoms of chest pain, new or sudden belly or abdominal discomfort, or your heartburn is not relieved with medication seek immediate medical attention.
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Is There A Peptic Ulcer Diet Plan
No particular diet is helpful for people with peptic ulcers. At one time, a bland diet and avoidance of spicy or greasy foods was recommended. Milk and dairy food have been used in the past for ulcer symptoms, but have not been proven to be effective. We now know diet has little effect on ulcers. In some people, however, certain foods seem to aggravate stomach ulcer symptoms. Keep a food diary with your intake and the resulting symptoms and avoid eating any foods that aggravate symptoms.
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What To Expect On The Day Of Surgery
When you go to your surgery appointment, you will register and sign a consent form. You may have some pre-operative testing before you go to the pre-surgical area. These tests may include a chest X-ray, CBC, blood chemistry panel, and a urine test.
You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. You will have your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, and oxygen level checked.
If you are having stomach ulcer surgery for an emergency, like a perforation, your preparation will happen quickly. You will need to have IV fluids and possibly a blood transfusion during this period.
Can Peptic Ulcers Be Prevented
Regular use of NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems and bleeding in some children. Acetaminophen does not cause stomach ulcers and is a good alternative to NSAIDs for most childhood conditions.
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How Is Esophagitis Treated
Treatment for esophagitis depends on its cause. While medications that block acid production may be recommended, other medications may be prescribed for cases of esophagitis that are caused by infection.
While you are being treated for esophagitis, you can take the following steps to help limit discomfort:
- Avoid spicy foods such as those with pepper, chili powder, curry and nutmeg.
- Avoid acidic foods and beverages such as tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits and their juices. Instead, try nectars and imitation fruit drinks with vitamin C.
- Include more soft foods such as applesauce, cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, custards, puddings and high-protein shakes in your diet.
- Take small bites and chew your food thoroughly.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco.