Monday, December 5, 2022

How To Manage Ulcer Pain

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What Is An Ulcer

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Ulcers are open sores on the inner lining of the lower esophagus, stomach, or the upper portion of the small intestine. They are often painful, particularly after eating, and can bleed into the stomach or intestines.

Ulcers are identified by the location of the sore:

  • Esophageal ulcers occur on the lower part of the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach.
  • Gastric ulcers form in the stomach lining.
  • Duodenal ulcers form in the lining of the small intestine near the stomach called the duodenum.

Esophageal, gastric, and duodenal ulcers are collectively called peptic ulcers or peptic ulcer disease . They are closely related both in causes and treatments. Compared to gastric and duodenal ulcers, esophageal ulcers may arise from different causes and require different treatments in some cases.

Peptic ulcers are due to an erosion of the defenses the stomach or intestinal tissues use to protect themselves against harmful stomach acid. When these defenses are compromised, the acid can eat away at the lining of the stomach or duodenum, causing sores.

Lifestyle factors, such as eating spicy foods or stress, are no longer considered risk factors for developing peptic or esophageal ulcers, but they may worsen ulcer symptoms.

Peptic ulcer disease is very common. Anywhere from 5% to 10% of the population will develop a peptic ulcer at some time during their lives. About 2% to 7% will experience an esophageal ulcer in their lifetime, mostly due to GERD.

Advice On Taking Nsaids

If your stomach ulcer has been caused by taking NSAIDs, your GP will want to review your use of them.

You may be advised to use an alternative painkiller not associated with stomach ulcers, such as paracetamol.

Sometimes an alternative type of NSAID thats less likely to cause stomach ulcers, called a COX-2 inhibitor, may be recommended.

If youre taking low-dose aspirin to reduce your risk of embolism , your GP will tell you whether you need to continue taking it.

If you do need to keep taking it, long-term treatment with a PPI or H2-receptor antagonist may be prescribed alongside the aspirin to try to prevent further ulcers.

Its important to understand the potential risks associated with continued NSAID use.

Youre more likely to develop another stomach ulcer and could experience a serious complication, such as internal bleeding.

Page last reviewed: 14 January 2022 Next review due: 14 January 2025

Take Your Ulcer Medications Properly

The goodnews, most cases of ulcers can be cured without theneed for surgery since there are now some effective non-surgical medicationsavailable.

And its important to take the medications properly otherwise the disease may fail to heal and cause serious complications such as internal bleeding, digestive tract obstruction, and perforation .

Whatsmore?

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What Are The Symptoms Of A Peptic Ulcer Does It Cause Pain

Ulcers do not always cause symptoms. Sometimes, a serious complication such as bleeding or a sudden, bad upper abdominal pain is the first sign of an ulcer.

The most common symptom of peptic ulcers is abdominal pain.

  • The pain is usually in the upper middle part of the abdomen, above the belly button and below the breastbone.
  • The ulcer pain can feel like burning, or gnawing, and it may go through to the back.
  • Pain often comes several hours after a meal when the stomach is empty.
  • The pain is often worse at night and early morning.
  • It can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
  • The ulcer pain may be relieved by food, antacids, or vomiting.

Other symptoms of peptic ulcers include the following:

  • Loss of appetite

Severe ulcers may cause bleeding in the stomach or duodenum. Bleeding is sometimes the only symptom of an ulcer. This bleeding can be fast or slow. Fast bleeding reveals itself in one of the following ways:

  • Vomiting of blood or dark material that looks something like coffee grounds: This is an emergency and warrants an immediate visit to an emergency department.
  • Blood in the stool or black, tarry, sticky-looking stools

Slow bleeding is often more difficult to detect, because it has no dramatic symptoms.

  • The usual result is low blood cell count .
  • The symptoms of anemia are tiredness , lack of energy , weakness, rapid heartbeat , and pale skin .

What Is The Best Home Remedy For An Ulcer

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An ulcer needs time to heal, so the best home remedies help guard the stomach against unnecessary irritation and work to lower stomach acid. Here are some examples:

  • Avoid foods that increase stomach acid such as dairy, coffee, and soft drinks
  • Avoid foods that irritate or damage the stomach such as alcohol, spicy foods, and fatty foods
  • Eat small meals throughout the day
  • Smoking also increases stomach acid, so stop smoking
  • Avoid NSAIDs for pain if youre at risk of getting an ulcer. They reduce prostaglandins that protect the stomach lining from stomach acids. Use acetaminophen instead
  • Stress and nervousness may increase stomach acid, so manage stress with relaxation exercises, stretching, yoga, and other stress management techniques

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Lifestyle Changes To Help Prevent Stomach Ulcers

Certain lifestyle factors can affect your risk of stomach ulcers. To prevent ulcers in the future, start making these lifestyle changes today:

  • Avoid alcohol: Drinking alcohol increases the risk of H. pylori infection.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking raises your risk of stomach ulcers.
  • Exercise daily: Regular physical activity has been linked to a lower risk of stomach ulcers.

How To Define Ulcerative Colitis Pain

To help your doctor figure out whats causing your abdominal pain and other symptoms, you need to be able to accurately describe the sensation. Before seeing your doctor, take stock of what youre feeling. It may be useful to keep a colitis symptom journal to write down what you are experiencing. Be ready to describe:

  • How long youve had your pain
  • Where you feel your pain
  • How it feels, both in sensation and intensity
  • The frequency and duration of your pain
  • What seems to trigger your abdominal pain
  • What seems to help ease the pain
  • What time each pain occurred, including how long after eating, and how long it lasted

The more specific you can be about your pain, the better, Dr. Kane says.

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What Are The Symptoms Of A Bleeding Ulcer

Bleeding ulcers dont always cause pain. Sometimes the first signs of a bleeding ulcer are signs of anemia. These include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.

You might have a heavier bleed if you notice:

  • Blood in your poop, or black poop that resembles tar.

These symptoms require urgent medical attention.

Making Lifestyle Changes To Relieve Ulcer Pain

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  • 1Determine the triggers of your ulcer pain. First, find out if you have any triggers that cause ulcer pain. Triggers are any foods and beverages that make your stomach pain worse. When you learn your triggers, and avoid them.
  • This may involve keeping track of foods and beverages that cause you any problems. Start with the common triggers, like spicy foods, foods with high acidity, alcohol, caffeine, or foods with high fat content. Add any foods or beverages that you are sensitive to. This is a simple process of writing down the foods you eat and seeing how you feel about one hour after eating. If the food you ate an hour ago is bothering you, you should eliminate that food from your diet.
  • 2Change your diet. Eating a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce ulcer pain and stomach irritation. Most fruits and vegetables , and whole grains wont irritate your stomach. Plus, eating vitamin-rich foods will support your bodys healing so you can get rid of the ulcer.
  • Avoid coffee and alcohol.
  • Getting more fiber from fruits and vegetables can help prevent new ulcers from developing and heal ulcers.
  • Foods rich in probiotics might help your ulcer. These include yogurt, sauerkraut, dark chocolate, pickles, and soy milk.
  • Cutting milk from your diet may be able to provide some relief.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
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    What Is The Treatment For A Venous Leg Ulcer

    A venous leg ulcer usually wont get better without treatment from a healthcare professional. The aim of treatment is to make sure the wound heals while providing relief from symptoms such as pain in and swelling of your affected leg.

    Your GP may recommend specialist wound care and compression therapy to help with healing. Treatment will usually be done by a district nurse who is specifically trained to manage leg ulcers.

    Compression therapy applies pressure to your affected leg, which reduces the amount of blood pooling in the veins and helps to redirect the blood flow to your heart. It can help to reduce swelling and encourages delivery of oxygen and nutrients, critical for healing, to the wound.

    Your GP may consider referral to a vascular surgeon to discuss a minimally invasive procedure for varicose veins. This will reduce the risk of recurrent ulcers.

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    What To Avoid If You Have An Ulcer

    If you have an ulcer, avoid NSAIDs or smoking, which can reduce the ability of the stomach lining to protect itself against stomach acid. Foods that increase stomach acid, such as dairy, coffee, and soda should be taken out of the diet. Highly acidic foods, such as tomatoes and citrus, will only make things worse. Finally, substances that irritate the stomach, such as alcohol or spicy foods, are probably not a good idea.

    You Cannot Always Prevent Mouth Ulcers

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    Most single mouth ulcers are caused by things you can try to avoid, such as:

    • biting the inside of your cheek
    • badly fitting dentures, braces, rough fillings or a sharp tooth
    • cuts or burns while eating or drinking for example, hard food or hot drinks
    • a food intolerance or allergy
    • damaging your gums with a toothbrush or irritating toothpaste
    • feeling tired, stressed or anxious

    Sometimes theyre triggered by things you cannot always control, such as:

    • hormonal changes such as during pregnancy
    • your genes some families get mouth ulcers more often
    • a long-term condition such as inflammatory bowel disease , coeliac disease or Behçets disease
    • a vitamin B12 or iron deficiency
    • medicines including some NSAIDs, beta blockers or nicorandil
    • stopping smoking people may develop mouth ulcers when they first stop smoking

    Page last reviewed: 19 January 2021 Next review due: 19 January 2024

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    What Is The Cause Of Peptic Ulcers

    When you eat, your stomach produces hydrochloric acid and an enzyme called pepsin to digest the food.

    • The food is partially digested in the stomach and then moves on to the duodenum to continue the process.
    • Peptic ulcers occur when the acid and enzyme overcome the defense mechanisms of the gastrointestinal tract and erode the mucosal wall.

    In the past it was thought that ulcers were caused by lifestyle factors such as eating habits, cigarettesmoking, and stress.

    • Now it is understood that people with ulcers have an imbalance between acid and pepsin coupled with the digestive tracts inability to protect itself from these harsh substances.
    • Research done in the 1980s showed that some ulcers are caused by infection with a bacterium named Helicobacter pylori, usually called H pylori.
    • Not everyone who gets an ulcer is infected with H pylori. Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause ulcers if taken regularly.

    Some types of medical therapy can contribute to ulcer formation. The following factors can weaken the protective mucosal barrier of the stomach increasing the chances of getting an ulcer and slow the healing of existing ulcers.

    • Aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , and newer anti-inflammatory medications
    • Cigarettesmoking
    • Radiation therapy:-used for diseases such as cancer

    People who take aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications are at an increased risk even if they do not have H pylori infection.

    What Tests Diagnose A Peptic Ulcer

    To confirm a person has an ulcer a diagnostic imaging test will usually be ordered. The two most widely used tests are:

    • Upper GI series : This is a type of X-ray. The patient is given a chalky liquid to drink that increases the contrast on the X-ray, making certain features easier to see. Because this liquid contains barium, this test is sometimes called a barium swallow.
    • Endoscopy : An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera at the end. The patient is given a mild sedative, and then the tube is passed through the mouth into the stomach. The doctor can see the lining of the stomach to diagnose a peptic ulcer. Tiny samples of the tissue will be taken , which are examined under a microscope.

    If a diagnostic imaging test reveals an ulcer, the patient will most likely have a test to see if H pylori bacteria are present.

    • It is important to be certain about this, because treatment of the H pylori is likely to heal the ulcer.
    • Ulcers caused by H pylori are treated differently than ulcers caused by medications.

    Three types of tests are available to detect H pylori.

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    Where Does Ulcerative Colitis Pain Come From

    Ulcerative colitis can be an unpredictable condition as the cause of it has yet to be uncovered. The illness is also associated with flare-ups, which can have unique triggers. Approximately 30% of people who are currently in remission will relapse in the next year.

    It is believed that there is a genetic component that comes into play with this condition. Those with family members with ulcerative colitis are more likely to be afflicted by this condition. This disease can generally be found in any age group, but it is far more prevalent between the ages of 15 to 30, as well as 50 to 70. It is also believed that Caucasians are much more likely to develop this condition and the risk is even higher for those of Ashkenazi Jewish decent.

    At one time, it was believed that ulcerative colitis was caused by stress and diet. Today, researchers believe these can be a trigger, but they no longer think it is a direct cause. Most studies are focused on searching the immune systems for a root cause for this condition. It is thought that the immune system might inadvertently attack the healthy cells in the GI tract when trying to fight off foreign invaders, which causes inflammation.

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    How Are Leg Ulcers Diagnosed

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    A vascular specialist a healthcare provider specializing in the circulatory system and knowledgeable about wound care can examine the ulcer. Your provider will examine your skin and the wound.

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    How Can I Prevent Leg Ulcers

    Leg ulcers commonly open up again after healing. These steps can lower the risk of getting a leg ulcer or a wound recurrence:

    • Elevate your legs above your heart when youre sitting or sleeping.
    • Maintain a healthy weight and stay physically active.
    • Manage health conditions that affect blood circulation, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Raynauds syndrome.
    • Quit smoking and using tobacco products. Talk with your healthcare provider about ways to stop smoking.
    • Use gentle cleansers, and apply moisturizing lotion to prevent dry skin.
    • Wear compression stockings or bandages for an hour each day to improve blood flow to the legs.

    Can Peptic Ulcers Be Prevented

    Doctors arent sure how H. pylori bacteria spread from person to person. The bacteria have been found in saliva , so kissing may be one way. They also may spread through food, water, or contact with vomit thats infected with the bacteria.

    Regular use of NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems and bleeding in some people. Acetaminophen does not cause stomach ulcers and is a good alternative to NSAIDs.

    As with many infections, washing your hands well and often is an important part of ulcer prevention. This is extra important after you use the bathroom and before you eat. And take good care of your body by exercising regularly and not smoking or drinking.

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    Treatment Of Mouth Ulcers

    Mouth Ulcers do not need treatment as they go away with time. But if the ulcers are large and extremely painful please visit your dentist for treatment options:

    • Rinse with salt water and baking soda
    • Apply pain relief ointments like Orajel or Anbesol
    • Apply ice to canker sores or use cold water
    • Placing old tea bags on the sores
    • Drink cool chamomile tea
    • Milk of magnesia can also be a good option and is advised to place on Mouth Ulcers

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