What Is Peptic Ulcer
Peptic ulcer is an open sore or erosion on the gastrointestinal tract that is painful. It develops when hydrochloric acid in the digestive fluids and the enzyme pepsin in the stomach damage the gastrointestinal tract. An ulcer in the stomach is called gastric ulcer and in the duodenum is called a duodenal ulcer. The gastric and duodenal ulcers together are referred to as peptic ulcers.
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen
- Smoking, stress, etc., increase susceptibility
- Immune Abnormalities
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.
You Cannot Always Prevent Mouth Ulcers
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 Treatment For Mouth Ulcers
Most mouth ulcers get better on their own within 1 to 2 weeks. Until your ulcer heals:
- use a soft toothbrush to reduce further damage
- rinse your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash
- avoid foods that make the pain worse, such as spicy or acidic food
- choose softer foods that are less likely to make the ulcer feel worse
- use a straw to drink cool liquids so they dont touch ulcers in the front of your mouth
- take paracetamol for pain relief.
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What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose A Peptic Ulcer
Endoscopy. An upper endoscopy exam is expedient because allows healthcare providers to see inside your digestive tract and also take a tissue sample to analyze in the lab. The test is done by passing a thin tube with a tiny camera attached down your throat and into your stomach and duodenum. Youll have medication to numb your throat and help you relax during the test. Your healthcare provider may use the endoscope to take a tissue sample to test for signs of mucous damage, anemia, H. pyloriinfection or malignancy. If they take a sample, you wont feel it.
Imaging tests. Imaging tests to look inside the stomach and small intestine include:
- Upper GI series. An upper GI X-ray exam examines the stomach and duodenum through X-rays. Its less invasive than an endoscopy. For the X-ray, youll swallow a chalky fluid called barium, which will coat your esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The barium helps your digestive organs show up better in black and white images.
- CT scan. Your healthcare provider might recommend a CT scan if they need to see your organs in more detail. A CT scan can show complications such as a perforation in the stomach or intestinal wall. For the test, youll lie on a table inside a scanner machine while X-rays are taken. You may drink or have an injection with contrast fluid to make your organs show up better in images.
Tests for H. pylori. Your healthcare provider might want to test you separately for H. pylori infection. Tests may include:
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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.
Treating Helicobacter Pylori Infection
If your stomach ulcer’s caused by a Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection, you’ll be given:
- a course of antibiotics
- a medication called a proton pump inhibitor
This is also recommended if it’s thought your stomach ulcer’s caused by a combination of an H. pylori infection and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
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Making A Decision And Considering Alternative Options
All three types of stomach-protecting medication can lower the risk of getting peptic ulcers. Proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers appear to be very well tolerated. But it is important to make sure the dose of H2 blockers is high enough. H2 blockers can become less effective over time because your body gets used to them. This doesn’t seem to be a problem when taking proton pump inhibitors.
The risk of stomach and bowel problems can be reduced by taking the lowest possible dose of painkillers, and only taking them for as long as necessary. Acetaminophen may sometimes be an alternative to NSAIDs. It doesn’t increase the risk of peptic ulcers and is often just as effective. But it has side effects too: For instance, it may cause liver damage if the dose is too high or if you take it regularly.
It’s best to talk to a doctor about how high your own personal risk of getting a peptic ulcer is, as well as what medications you could take to protect your stomach.
What About Complicated Ulcers
While most ulcers are successfully treated with medication, some complicated ulcers may require surgery. Ulcers that are bleeding, or that have perforated your stomach or intestinal wall, will need to be surgically repaired. An ulcer that is malignant, or obstructing a passageway, will need to be surgically removed. In severe cases, an ulcer that keeps coming back may be treated by surgery to cut off some of the nerve supply to the stomach that produces stomach acid.
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Other Options For Pain Relief
Painkillers aren’t the only answer for many of life’s aches and pains. Many effective and safe alternatives don’t have any side effects at all.
- Ice packs, for acute injuries such as a sprained ankle, can keep down swelling and ease pain.
- Heat with a hot towel or heating pad can be helpful for treating chronic overuse injuries.
- Physical activity can help reduce some kinds of discomfort, such as arthritis pain.
- Relaxation with techniques such as yoga or meditation — may reduce pain. Biofeedback may help as well. These approaches are best for pain that’s amplified by stress, such as tension headaches.
- Nontraditional techniques with low risks — such as acupuncture — benefit some people.
So remember: Pain relief doesn’t only come from a pill bottle.
Causes Of Stomach Ulcers
A stomach ulcer can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria is thought to be responsible for around 60 per cent of stomach ulcers and at least 90 per cent of duodenal ulcers.
- Certain medications which include aspirin or clopidogrel, taken regularly to help prevent heart attack or stroke, and drugs for arthritis. Anti-inflammatory medications are thought to cause around two fifths of stomach ulcers.
- Cancer stomach cancer can present as an ulcer, particularly in older people.
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Easing The Pain With Medication
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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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.
Using Hot Water Bottles To Relieve Stomachache
Hot compresses can help soothe stomach pain. The word hot is used loosely here, since the desired level of heat will depend on both the level of pain and personal preference.
Fill the bottle or similar object with warm or hot water, place a cloth between it and your skin, and find a comfortable place to lie down.
- Place the hot water bottle, or a cloth soaked in hot water, on stomach for a five- to 10-minute treatment throughout the day.
- Take a warm shower or bath twice a day for 15- to 20-minute intervals.
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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.
Proton Pump Inhibitors Lower The Risk Of Peptic Ulcers
The proton pump inhibitors used in the studies were lansoprazole , omeprazole and pantoprazole . The studies lasted up to six months. They showed that, compared to a placebo, all of these proton pump inhibitors clearly lowered the risk of getting peptic ulcers:
- Without a proton pump inhibitor, 36 out of 100 people developed an ulcer.
- With a proton pump inhibitor, 14 out of 100 people developed a peptic ulcer.
In other words: Proton pump inhibitors prevented the development of NSAID-related peptic ulcers in 22 out of 100 people.
Proton pump inhibitors may cause headaches, diarrhea, constipation and stomach pain. Only a few people in the studies stopped their treatment early due to side effects.
But it’s not clear whether the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors is safe. It has been observed that hip fractures, spinal fractures and wrist fractures are more common in people over the age of 50 who have taken PPIs in a high dose or for longer than a year.
It is also thought that the long-term use of PPIs might increase the risk of intestinal infections and pulmonary infections or nephritis .
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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 .
How To Get Rid Of Canker Sores
Edmund Khoo, DDS, is board-certified in orthodontics. He teaches full-time as a clinical associate professor at his alma mater, New York University College of Dentistry, is a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, and serves on advisory boards for the American Dental Education Association.
Simple canker sores, also called aphthous ulcers, are among the most common ulcers in the mouth. They are usually small and shallow, and develop inside the mouth and at the base of the gums.
While they start off causing a tingling sensation, they can progress to become quite painful. Some people may hesitate to talk, eat, or drink because of the discomfort.
Home remedies and over-the-counter treatments may help reduce pain and speed the healing process. When thats not enough, a prescription may be needed.
This article outlines some commonly used options and when you should contact your dentist.
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin
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How To Relieve Mouth Ulcer Pain
Regardless of what caused the ulcer, there are a few simple remedies that will alleviate some of the pain they cause. The easiest is to create a numbing effect by holding a small piece of ice in your mouth, positioned over the sore. The cold will soothe some of the inflammation present in the ulcer and reduce the painful sensations Household products can be used to make mouthwash for ulcers A bicarbonate of soda mouthwash: to relieve your pain and reduce the risk of infection, mix one teaspoon of salt with one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 120 ml of water. Gargle with this solution 3 or 4 times a day Ice is an excellent way to help heal mouth ulcers. It acts as a sedative that helps relieve pain and also significantly reduces swelling. You just need to apply the ice cube directly to the affected area, pressing down gently until the ulcers cool down. You can use this remedy 3 to 4 times 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
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