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 Are Peptic Ulcers Treated
Treatment will depend on the type of ulcer you have. Your healthcare provider will create a care plan for you based on what is causing your ulcer.
Treatment can include making lifestyle changes, taking medicines, or in some cases having surgery.
Lifestyle changes may include:
- Not eating certain foods. Avoid any foods that make your symptoms worse.
- Quitting smoking. Smoking can keep your ulcer from healing. It is also linked to ulcers coming back after treatment.
- Limiting alcohol and caffeine. They can make your symptoms worse.
- Not using NSAIDs . These include aspirin and ibuprofen.
Medicines to treat ulcers may include:
- Antibiotics. These bacteria-fighting medicines are used to kill the H. pylori bacteria. Often a mix of antibiotics and other medicines is used to cure the ulcer and get rid of the infection.
- H2-blockers . These reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes by blocking the hormone histamine. Histamine helps to make acid.
- Proton pump inhibitors or PPIs. These lower stomach acid levels and protect the lining of your stomach and duodenum.
- Mucosal protective agents. These medicines protect the stomachs mucus lining from acid damage so that it can heal.
- Antacids. These quickly weaken or neutralize stomach acid to ease your symptoms.
In most cases, medicines can heal ulcers quickly. Once the H. pylori bacteria is removed, most ulcers do not come back.
Keeping Your Stomach Healthy
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Treating Helicobacter Pylori Infection
If your stomach ulcers caused by a Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection, youll be given:
- a course of antibiotics
- a medication called a proton pump inhibitor
This is also recommended if its thought your stomach ulcers caused by a combination of an H. pylori infection and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
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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.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Stomach Ulcers
If and when you experience any of the symptoms described above, consult a physician immediately for proper diagnosis.Depending on the severity of your condition, you can choose the treatment you wish to follow in order to rectify the situation.If left undiagnosed and untreated, gastric ulcers can lead to the following complications:
- Internal bleeding
- Perforation or splitting open of the stomach lining, i.e., a hole or tear in the stomach wall
- Swelling or scarring that leads to intestinal blockage
You can get any of the following tests done for proper diagnosis of stomach ulcers: urea breath test, stool test, blood test, and gastroscopy or endoscopy.In case the damage to your stomach is not severe and does not require immediate surgical intervention or antibiotic treatment, given below are 10 home remedies that can help you get rid of stomach ulcers and repair your stomach lining.
Pay Attention To Your Diet For Ulcer Pain Relief
While there are ongoing debates about food and ulcer pain, the truth is you need to pay attention to foods that hurt you while your ulcer is healing.
Some people find eliminating dairy, nuts, alcohol and fatty foods helps ease their pain. Other people who try the elimination diet find that other foods just seem to trigger gnawing or dull ulcer pain. Some people report they can eat spicy foods and that doesnt trigger pain.
Obviously, a whole food, nutrient-dense diet of vegetables, fruits and whole grains is ideal. But the rule of thumb should be: dont eat it if it causes your discomfort.
Its important to remember not to skip meals. Youll find ulcer pain relief more quickly if you can eat small, healthy meals or snacks throughout the day. This helps make sure your stomach doesnt get empty.
This approach is more ideal than eating 2-3 big meals per day as your stomach ulcer heals. You may also want to start taking a probiotic or try natural remedies to help reduce your risk of further complications and support a healthy digestive tract long-term.
Stomach Ulcer Therapeutic Endoscopy
When a stomach ulcer goes untreated, it can start to bleed, and this can quickly become a medical emergency. When this happens, you may require surgery to repair the stomach damage. Fortunately, surgery for ulcers is not common because the other treatments are so effective.
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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.
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.
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?
What Are The Signs You Have A Stomach Ulcer
The symptoms of a stomach ulcer are often similar to a regular upset stomach, says Andrew Boxer, MD, a gastroenterologist at Jersey City Medical Center in New Jersey. But usually, the symptoms of an ulcer will not go away.
The symptoms can vary widely. Some patients are completely asymptomatic, while some patients experience the worst pain of their life. There can also be anything in between, says Boxer. Some patients may see blood in their stool or even vomit blood. In rare instances, an ulcer can cause an obstruction, and the patient will have nausea and vomiting. Because ulcers can involve bleeding, some patients may show anemia or a lack of hemoglobin on a blood test.
The most common symptom is upper abdominal pain, says Alex Spinoso, MD, of Genesis Lifestyle Medicine in Las Vegas, Nevada. Occasionally the discomfort localizes to the right or left upper quadrants of the hypochondrium, the areas right below the chest on either flank where there are still ribs.
Typically, pain associated with a stomach ulcer happens two to five hours after a meal, when the stomach secretes acid and is mostly empty, and at night when acid secretion normally increases, says Spinoso. Without treatment, ulcer pain may last a few weeks, followed by symptom-free periods of weeks or months.
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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.
Can A Peptic Ulcer Come Back
Yes, a peptic ulcer can come back. If you smoke or take NSAIDs, peptic ulcers are more likely to come back. If you need to take an NSAID, your doctor may switch you to a different medicine or add medicines to help prevent a peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcer disease can return, even if you have been careful to reduce your risk.
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What Factors Make It Likely To Develop Stomach Ulcers
One of the crucial factors is infection in the stomach of Helicobacter pylori. Between 85 and 100% of patients with stomach ulcers test positive for this bacterium in the stomach or duodenum.
Likewise, the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, indomethacin, diclofenac, piroxicam and naprozen and other drugs such as cigarettes and alcohol is a risk factor. The risk gradually increases the longer a person uses them.
Experts also know that there is a family-related predisposition to stomach ulcers. However, this predisposition must be combined with unhealthy habits in order to end up in illness.
For example, consuming certain foods and beverages that can cause stomach upset. Eating a healthy diet, which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber, can reduce the risk of suffering from stomach ulcers.
In addition , the role that stress plays in the development of stomach ulcers is controversial. There is some evidence that it may contribute to the development of it as well as partial healing and increased likelihood of recurrence.
What Kind Of Doctor Treats Peptic Ulcers
- If you suspect you may have a peptic ulcer, you may first be diagnosed by your family practitioner or internist.
- Children or teenagers may see a pediatrician.
- For further treatment you will likely be referred to a gastroenterologist, a specialist in disorders of the digestive tract.
- If you have an emergency such as vomiting or severe abdominal pain you will be seen by an emergency medicine specialist in an emergency room.
- In the rare case where surgery is needed, you may see a general surgeon.
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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.
Try Cabbage To Treat Ulcers
Folk healers have traditionally advised people to drink cabbage juice during ulcer flare-ups. It might be worth a try because cabbage contains an amino acid called glutamine, which is thought to speed intestinal healing. Some alternative experts recommend juicing half a head of cabbage and drinking it once daily. Eating the same amount of raw cabbage will have similar effectsbut dont bother with cooked cabbage, because heat cancels the beneficial effects.
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Guarding Against Infection Of H Pylori
Bleeding Peptic Ulcer: Treatment
A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of your stomach or duodenum . Your ulcer is bleeding or at high risk of bleeding. This means that you need treatment right away. Treatment can include medicines. It may also include a procedure such as endoscopy, angiography, or surgery. Your provider will work with you to decide which treatments are best for you. Read on to learn more about each type of treatment.
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How Is An Ulcer Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. They may do an endoscopy. This procedure involves inserting a thin, flexible tube attached to a camera down your throat and into your stomach. Your doctor will test your blood, breath or stool for H. pylori. They also can test a sample of your stomach lining. Your doctor also will ask you if you regularly take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medicines.