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.
Making Lifestyle Changes To Relieve Ulcer Pain
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.
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To Medicate Or Not To Medicate
It is your choice whether or not to take prescription medication to heal your ulcer. When I initially got my ulcer, I was determined to heal it naturally. It was a very difficult and uncomfortable process because I was in a lot of pain, especially between meals.
However a few weeks in, and just when things started looking up for me, I got the flu and my ulcer burst. It was a NIGHTMARE. I had to start the process all over again. I decided to take PPIs . This reduced the amount of stomach acid I produced and helped me feel more comfortable between meals.
What PPIs do is essentially inhibit the amount of stomach acid produced. This is helpful because stomach acid can irritate a gastric ulcer.
I dont give credit to the PPIs for healing my stomach. It can reduce the symptoms, but only a diet and lifestyle change can really do the healing part.
If you get tested for the H.Pylori bacteria and you test positive, your doctor may want to prescribe you antibiotics. Again I believe this is a personal choice. Just as with the PPIs I think a diet and lifestyle change is paramount if you really want to see lasting results.
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Diagnosis Of A Stomach Ulcer
Diagnosing a stomach ulcer is done using a range of methods, including:
- Endoscopy a thin flexible tube is threaded down the oesophagus into the stomach under light anaesthesia. The endoscope is fitted with a small camera so the physician can see if there is an ulcer.
- Barium meal a chalky liquid is drunk and an x-ray is performed, showing the stomach lining. These tests are less common nowadays, but may be useful where endoscopy is unavailable.
- Biopsy a small tissue sample is taken during an endoscopy and tested in a laboratory. This biopsy should always be done if a gastric ulcer is found.
- C14 breath test this checks for the presence of H. pylori. The bacteria convert urea into carbon dioxide. The test involves swallowing an amount of radioactive carbon and testing the air exhaled from the lungs. A non-radioactive test can be used for children and pregnant women.
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What Does A Peptic Ulcer Feel Like
Most people with gastric ulcers feel pain in the middle of their stomachs. They also report other uncomfortable digestive issues such as:
These symptoms tend to get worse over time. Some people with inflammation say the sharp, burning pain wakes them up out of a deep sleep.
The pain typically occurs when the stomach is empty, between meals and in the early morning hours, but it can also occur at other times. Your pain may last for minutes or hours.
The biggest problem with an undiagnosed peptic ulcer disease is trying to find effective pain relief. One of the common side effects of having an ulcer is losing weight because you dont feel hungry or you intentionally stop eating in hopes of easing your stomach pain.
Many people living with ulcers initially think not eating will help because they wont be pained by digesting food. That actually doesnt work because your stomach acid is still churning in an empty stomach and it could make pain worse because theres no food to digest.
Prior to getting a diagnosis, people living with ulcers try to self medicate with OTC antacids that reduces the amount of acid production in your stomach. While that might give you short-term pain relief, its not a long term solution. It doesnt heal the damage thats occurring in your stomach lining and small intestine.
When Should I See A Doctor If I Think I Have A Peptic Ulcer
- If you have burning pain in your upper stomach that is relieved by eating or taking antacids, call a health-care professional for an appointment. Don’t assume you have an ulcer. Certain other conditions can cause similar symptoms.
- If you vomit blood or have other signs of gastrointestinal bleeding, go to an emergency department right away. Peptic ulcers can cause massive bleeding, which requires blood transfusion or surgery.
- Severe abdominal pain suggests perforation or tearing of an ulcer. This is an emergency that may require surgery to fix a hole in your stomach.
- Vomiting and abdominal pain also can be a sign of an obstruction, another complication of peptic ulcers. This also may require emergency surgery.
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Treatment Of Helicobacter Pylori Infection
- Triple Therapy: When Helicobacter pylori infection is present with the ulcer, the most effective treatments are combinations of 2 antibiotics and 1 proton pump inhibitor , sometimes together with a bismuth compound. . Other combinations may also be effective. This treatment may be used with medicine that reduces the amount of acid your stomach makes .
- Advanced Therapy: In complicated, treatment-resistant cases, 3 antibiotics may be used together with a PPI and sometimes with the bismuth compound. An effective first-line therapy for uncomplicated cases would be Amoxicillin + Metronidazole + Rabeprazole . In the absence of H. pylori, long-term higher dose PPIs are often used.
- H2 Antagonists: Younger patients with ulcer-like symptoms are often treated with antacids or H2 antagonists before EGD is undertaken. Bismuth compounds may actually reduce or even clear organisms. Patients who are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories may also be prescribed a prostaglandin analogue in order to help prevent peptic ulcers, which may be a side effect of the NSAIDs.
Treatment of H. pylori usually leads to the clearing of infection, relief of symptoms and eventual healing of ulcers. Recurrence of infection can occur and retreatment may be required, if necessary with other antibiotics.
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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Fruits Vegetables Whole Grains And Other Foods High In Fibre Can Prevent Ulcers
Add another star to fibres crown. Besides keeping you regular, fibre has a role in keeping ulcers at bay, especially those in the duodenum. A number of studies have found that people who eat high-fibre diets have a lower risk of developing ulcers. In the Physicians Health Study from Harvard, researchers looked at the diets of 47,806 men and found that those who ate 11 grams or more of fibre from vegetables had a 32 per cent lower risk of developing duodenal ulcers.
Scientists arent sure how fibre helps, but it may be thanks to the fact that it slows the emptying of the stomach and thus reduces the amount of time the stomach lining and duodenum are exposed to digestive acids. Soluble fibre, the kind found in oats, beans, barley, peas, and pears, also forms a slippery goo in the stomach that acts as a barrier between the stomach lining and corrosive stomach acids.
Recommended dose: General health guidelines suggest getting 25 to 35 grams of fibre a day.
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Stomach Ulcer Treatment Plan: 4 Natural Treatments
1. Boost Immunity Against H.pylori
Many people host H. pylori in their bodies, but only a minority of people infected with H. pylori develop ulcers. A highly inflammatory lifestyle weakens the immune system and makes the digestive system more susceptible to an infection caused by H. pylori bacterium. H. pylori itself can then cause even more inflammation within the stomach and small intestine, creating a vicious cycle thats hard to break.
Research shows that today about 30 percent to 40 percent of people in the U.S. get an H. pylori infection, but usually the infection remains dormant, without any noticeable symptoms emerging for years or even ever. Other research suggests that H. pylori is present in more than 90 percent of duodenal ulcers and about 80 percent of stomach ulcers.
H. pylori contributes to ulcers by damaging the mucous coating that protects the lining of the stomach and duodenum from acids. Once damaged, stomach acid is able to get through to the sensitive lining, causing burning and irritation. H. pylori can be spread through unclean water, food or utensils, plus through bodily fluids but its only likely to cause an ulcer when someones immunity is low for other reasons.
You can also protect yourself from H. pylori infection by frequently washing your hands with soap and water and by eating foods that have been cooked completely.
2. Limit Use of NSAID Pain Relievers
3. Manage Stress
4. Eat A Stomach Ulcer Diet
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How Are Stomach Ulcers Treated
If you have a stomach ulcer, you may be given:
- a combination of antibiotic medicines to eradicate the Helicobacter pylori bacteria if it is present
- medicines that reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces, such as proton pump inhibitors
Some people have one of these treatments, while some have both.
If you have a stomach ulcer that was caused by taking anti-inflammatory medications, do not stop these without talking to your doctor first.
To help manage symptoms, you can also:
- stop smoking
- eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, and make sure there is enough iron in your diet
- avoid foods that make symptoms worse, such as fatty meals, alcohol, tomatoes, spicy foods, coffee, chocolate or hot drinks
- lose weight if you are overweight
- take an antacid
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Baking Soda Combined With Apple Cider Vinegar
The amalgamation of sodium bicarbonate and fermented apple solution may rather sound eccentric for a few. However, these proponents individually bear several health benefits that could help you cure and control your stomach ulcer.
Why Does it Work?
Baking soda, chemically referred to as sodium bicarbonate is a white alkaline powder that has proven its potential in curing several health conditions including stomach ulcers. In ulcers, it is commonly noticed that the stomach is completely filled with stomach acids and the inner lining of the wall is corroded due to acid.
When baking soda comes in contact with the acid, it neutralizes the acid, and as a by-product of this reaction, water is released. This is the first step, as the acid gets converted, the bacteria are then exposed, and apple cider vinegar that is a proven antimicrobial agent acts on the h pylori bacteria, and thereby prevents and cures stomach ulcers. Although there havent been any studies that have concluded on these claims, however, there are several anecdotes that claim the efficacy of this solution.
How Much to Use?
It is ideally recommended that you drink this once a day for at least a week. It is recommended that you check the improvements in health later.
How to Use?
- Honey to taste
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
Signs of a peptic ulcer include:
- most commonly, burning pain in the belly between the breastbone and the belly button
- feeding problems
- blood in vomit or bowel movements, which may look dark red or black
If your child has any of these signs and symptoms, call your doctor. Many can be caused by other childhood illnesses, but should be reported to your doctor. Based on your child’s medical history and symptoms, the doctor may want your child to see a pediatric gastroenterologist. This is a doctor who treats problems of the stomach, intestines, and associated organs.
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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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.
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:
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