How Are Ulcers Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider may be able to make the diagnosis just by talking with you about your symptoms. If you develop an ulcer and youre not taking NSAIDs, the cause is likely an H. pylori infection. To confirm the diagnosis, youll need one of these tests:
If you have severe symptoms, your provider may recommend an upper endoscopy to determine if you have an ulcer. In this procedure, the doctor inserts an endoscope through your throat and into your stomach to look for abnormalities.
H. Pylori tests
Tests for H. pylori are now widely used and your provider will tailor treatment to reduce your symptoms and kill the bacteria. A breath test is the easiest way to discover H. pylori. Your provider can also look for it with a blood or stool test, or by taking a sample during an upper endoscopy.
Less frequently, imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans are used to detect ulcers. You have to drink a specific liquid that coats the digestive tract and makes ulcers more visible to the imaging machines.
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.
When To See The Doctor
Peptic ulcers will get worse if theyre not treated, so contact your doctor if you have symptoms or any signs that you could have one. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the way people find out they have an ulcer is by developing bleedstheyre taking a lot of aspirin or NSAIDS and they either start vomiting blood or have black tarry stool, says Marcus.
Your doctor may be able to diagnose a peptic ulcer by talking with you about your symptoms. Be sure to disclose the frequency of NSAID use.
However, some tests are usually used to confirm the diagnosis. For instance, to see if you have an H. pylori infection, your doctor will test your blood, breath or stool. They may also look inside your stomach and duodenum by doing an endoscopy or X-ray. An endoscopy is a procedure where a lighted tube is inserted through the throat and into the stomach to check for abnormalities.
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Temporary stomach pain usually doesn’t make you panic, right? You just assume it was something you ate. But what if the pain lasts for days? Could it be a stomach ulcer?
Gastroenterologist Dr. Anish Sheth weighs in.
Q: “I’ve been having stomach issues lately. How can I tell if it’s an ulcer?”
A: “We all get little aches and pains in the belly,” Dr. Anish says. “Sometimes we eat too much, sometimes we’re traveling so the biggest concern is, is this just a little bit of irritation, is this going to pass, or am I actually developing an ulcer?
What are symptoms of a stomach ulcer?
According to Dr. Anish, here are a few:
- Pain in the middle of the abdomen, kind of high up
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain that lasts longer than a few hours or a day
The Dangers Of Stomach Ulcers
While ulcers dont necessarily cause more than discomfort initially, if left untreated, they can lead to some serious medical complications. These can include:
- Internal bleeding and serious blood loss which can require hospitalization and blood transfusions
- Peritonitis, or infection of the abdominal cavity
- Obstructed digestion
- Trouble breathing
At the first sign or symptom of ulcers, its important to get a medical evaluation and to treat them appropriately to prevent a worsening or severe condition.
Ulcers can be easy to treat and manage, even naturally, once they are diagnosed.
Traditional treatment for stomach ulcers involves removing sources of aggravation, like:
- Switching away from NSAID or steroid drugs which could be worsening the condition
- Quitting cigarettes
- Eliminating alcohol consumption
- Taking acid blocking drugs to reduce and manage stomach acid
When an ulcer is caused by H. pylori, its important to live a lifestyle that reduces aggravation and the causes, because ulcers can easily return if the bacteria continues to live in the digestive tract.
Sometimes conventional medical treatment will require surgery to address ulcer complications, especially if theyve begun to bleed internally. Surgical intervention typically involves the removal of the ulcer, tying off bleeding vessels, grafting tissue from another site to repair the ulcer, or reducing the stomachs ability to produce acid.
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How To Recognize Gerd
GERD is a plumbing problem. It starts at the bottom of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach.
When the valve at the bottom of your esophagus doesnt close properly, acid backs up and causes a painful burning sensation in your chest and throat. When youve got GERD, acid is coming back up and bathing your esophagus, instead of staying in the stomach where its supposed to be, says Dr. Brocato. That gives you a sensation of food coming up and irritation in your throat.
GERD is very common. According to the National Institutes of Health, it affects about 20% of Americans.
What Triggers Stomach Ulcer Symptoms
Stomach ulcers are irritated by stomach acid. Some people notice this irritation more after they eat, and some people notice it more on an empty stomach. There are also certain irritants that seem to make ulcer symptoms worse and make them more difficult to heal. Smoking and alcohol are the biggest ones.
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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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How Do You Get Stomach Ulcers And How Can You Treat Them
If youve ever experienced a stomach ulcer then you know that they are no fun to deal with. A stomach ulcer is a sore that is in the lining of your stomach. Yes, it can be pretty painful as well. The mucus that typically protects your digestive tract is usually reduced, thus leaving your stomach more exposed to the acid that you is created in it. When theres nothing to protect your stomach from the acid, the acid is going to start tearing away at the lining of your stomach. This is how a stomach ulcer can occur. The good news is that ulcers are relatively easy to cure.
Stomach Ulcers: Symptoms and Treatments Symptoms of Stomach Ulcer
- Burning sensation from chest to belly button
- Not wanting to eat due to stomach pain
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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.
If Your Ulcer Was Caused By An Anti
If possible, you should stop taking the anti-inflammatory medicine. This allows the ulcer to heal. You will also normally be prescribed an acid-suppressing medicine for several weeks. This stops the stomach from making acid and allows the ulcer to heal. However, in many cases, the anti-inflammatory medicine is needed to ease symptoms of arthritis or other painful conditions, or aspirin is needed to protect against blood clots. In these situations, one option is to take an acid-suppressing medicine each day indefinitely. This reduces the amount of acid made by the stomach and greatly reduces the chance of an ulcer forming again.
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Fainting Or Passing Out
After sitting or lying down for a long amount of time, the person who tries to stand up may experience lightheadedness which may lead to fainting. This happens because the body doesnÃ¢t pump enough blood to the brain as much as necessary.
A display of faintness during situations like standing or sitting after prolonged lying down in a patient with stomach ulcer can be an indication of bleeding. With increased blood loss, the person may become anemic. The individual will usually feel weak and sleepy most of the day. It makes them feel exhausted as well.
How Can I Prevent Ulcers
You may be able to prevent ulcers from forming if you:
- Talk to your doctor about alternatives to NSAID medications to relieve pain.
- Discuss protective measures with your doctor, if you cant stop taking an NSAID.
- Opt for the lowest effective dose of NSAID and take it with a meal.
- Quit smoking.
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How Can I Prevent A Stomach Ulcer From Occurring Or Returning
- Reduce NSAID use, if possible. Consider whether acetaminophen might substitute. If you take NSAIDs for medical reasons, talk to your doctor about reducing your dosage or switching your medication. Your doctor may also prescribe another medicine to take with NSAIDs to protect your stomach lining.
- Reduce other irritants that may contribute to too much stomach acid or erode your stomach lining, including smoking and alcohol use.
- Take an H. pylori breath test to find out if you have an overgrowth of the bacteria.
The Seven Signs Of Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are very common. While many people experience painful symptoms, some do not. This is a problem, because if left untreated, a stomach ulcer can cause significant problems. Therefore, its important to learn to detect the signs of a potential stomach ulcer in your body.
Fortunately, stomach ulcers can be easily treated by your doctor once you find out you have one. This blog will help you understand the types of stomach ulcers, what causes them, and what treatments are available today.
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How Are Stomach Ulcers Treated
Ulcers can heal if they are given a rest from the factors that created them. Healthcare providers treat uncomplicated ulcers with a combination of medicines to reduce stomach acid, coat and protect the ulcer during healing and kill any bacterial infection that may be involved. Medicines may include:
- Antibiotics. If H. pylori was found in your digestive tract, your healthcare provider will prescribe some combination of antibiotics to kill the bacteria, based on your medical history and condition. Commonly prescribed antibiotics include tetracycline, metronidazole, clarithromycinand amoxicillin.
- Proton pump inhibitors . These drugs help reduce stomach acid and protect your stomach lining. PPIs include esomeprazole,dexlansoprazole,lansoprazole, omeprazole,pantoprazole and rabeprazole.
- Histamine receptor blockers . These reduce stomach acid by blocking the chemical that tells your body to produce it . H2 blockers include famotidine, cimetidine and nizatidine.
- Antacids. These common over-the-counter medicines help to neutralize stomach acid. They may bring some symptom relief, but they arent enough to heal your ulcer. They also might interfere with some antibiotics.
- Cytoprotective agents. These medicines help to coat and protect your stomach lining. They include sucralfate and misoprostol.
- Bismuth Subsalicylate. This over-the-counter medicine, commonly found as Pepto-Bismol, can help coat and protect your ulcer from stomach acid.
Can You Prevent A Peptic Ulcer
While stress and spicy foods can make symptoms of a peptic ulcer worse, they donât seem to make you more likely to have one. But a few other things can raise your chances.
Be careful when you take pain relievers. Some people who have arthritis or other conditions that cause chronic pain take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for weeks or months at a time to ease pain and swelling. These medicines can affect the mucus that protects your stomach against acid and make you more likely to have peptic ulcers.
These pain relievers include:
You’re more likely to get an ulcer while taking one of these if you:
- Are over age 65
- Are infected with H. pylori bacteria
- Take more than one NSAID at a time
- Have had a peptic ulcer in the past
- Also take a steroid drug or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
To lower your chances for peptic ulcers while you take NSAIDs:
- Use the lowest possible dose to control your symptoms, and stop taking them as soon as you no longer need them.
- Take your medicine with food.
- Don’t drink alcohol while youâre taking these medicines.
While you’re on NSAIDs, you can take medicine to lower the amount of acid your stomach makes. Drugs that can do that include:
You can do some things to make an infection less likely:
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How To Have A Healthy Stomach
Whether youre prone to ulcers, or youve never had one before and want to avoid it at all costs, preventing them starts with making sure digestion is optimized. Even if you get H. pylori, a healthy bacterial balance in the stomach and elsewhere in the digestive tract can help to keep it in balance and even eradicate it.
H. pylori affects as much as half of the worlds population, so the chances of having it or getting it at some point are pretty high. Having reduced inflammation in the body as well as eating plenty of certain types of foods, can reduce the chance of H. pylori creating negative health problems, including ulcers.
Treatment For A Stomach Ulcer
Special diets are now known to have very little impact on the prevention or treatment of stomach ulcers. Treatment options can include:
- medication including antibiotics, to destroy the H. pylori colony, and drugs to help speed the healing process. Different drugs need to be used in combination some of the side effects can include diarrhoea and rashes. Resistance to some of these antibiotics is becoming more common
- subsequent breath tests used to make sure the H. pylori infection has been treated successfully
- changes to existing medication the doses of arthritis medication, aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medication can be altered slightly to reduce their contributing effects on the stomach ulcer.
- reducing acid tablets are available to reduce the acid content in the gastric juices
- lifestyle modifications including quitting cigarettes, since smoking reduces the natural defences in the stomach and impairs the healing process.
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Know the signs of ulcer
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Sometimes it happens that suddenly there is pain in our stomach. It starts happening, or after eating food there is a strange nervousness and it seems as if vomiting is about to happen. But have you ever noticed why all this is happening to you? Yes, if you are ignoring these signs, then they can be harmful for yourself, because all these symptoms are ulcers. may indicate. We all have heard about ulcers, so it should not be overlooked even by mistake. this problem There are lesions in the stomach or intestines, which can later become cancer. Can also take the form of ulcers, so lets know about ulcers-
What Is An Ulcer And Gastritis
Gastritis and an ulcer are conditions that affect the stomach and small intestine, and they share many symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss. There are many differences, though. Gastritis and an ulcer both inflame the stomach lining, but gastritis is a general inflammation, and an ulcer is a patch of eroded stomach lining. Though gastritis and an ulcer share symptoms, an intense, localized pain is much more common with an ulcer, and an ulcer also carries the risk of bleeding, cancer and eventual stomach perforation. Doctors use a variety of techniques to diagnose each specific ailment, and the methods of treatment vary as well.
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What Are Some Ulcer Symptoms
Some people with ulcers dont experience any symptoms. But signs of an ulcer can include:
- Gnawing or burning pain in your middle or upper stomach between meals or at night.
- Pain that temporarily disappears if you eat something or take an antacid.
In severe cases, symptoms can include:
- Dark or black stool .
- Severe pain in your mid- to upper abdomen.