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 doesnât 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.
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.
How Do I Treat Ulcers
Ulcers are typically treated by medications. Exactly what medications you need will depend on whatâs causing your ulcer. Options include:
- Antibiotics to kill H. pylori in your system
- Proton pump inhibitors to block acid production and promote healing of your ulcer
- H2 blockers to reduce acid production and encourage healing
In some cases, doctors might also recommend antacids. These will provide some relief for your symptoms, but they wonât actually heal your ulcer.
Occasionally, fundoplication surgery is used for GERD sufferers who are also dealing with ulcers. This procedure creates a valve mechanism at the bottom of the esophagus to prevent stomach acid from flowing backwards and continuing to create ulcers.
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What Causes Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers occur when the layer that protects the stomach lining from stomach acid breaks down, which allows the stomach lining to become damaged.
This is usually a result of:
- an infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
- taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen or aspirin particularly if they’re taken for a long time or at high doses
It used to be thought that stress or certain foods might cause stomach ulcers, but there’s little evidence to suggest this is the case.
Read more about the causes of stomach ulcers.
Your Appetite Went Mia
For many patients with ulcers, the condition can actually result in a loss of appetite. This drop in food intake, combined with occasional vomiting, may lead to unexpected weight loss. Some ulcer patients report eating their normal amount of food, yet still lose weight, so the ulcer itself may cause a drop on the scale, too.
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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.
Other Causes And Factors
Other causes are rare. For example, some viral infections can cause a stomach ulcer. Crohn’s disease may cause a stomach ulcer in addition to other problems of the gut.
Stomach cancer may at first look similar to an ulcer. Stomach cancer is uncommon but may need to be ‘ruled out’ if you are found to have a stomach ulcer.
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Do You Have A Stomach Ulcer
If you suspect that you have a stomach ulcer, it is beyond important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. As you can tell from the symptoms listed above, things can only get worse if your ulcer goes untreated. Call the experts at West Gastroenterology in Los Angeles today and make an appointment!
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Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers
A number of symptoms are associated with stomach ulcers. The severity of the symptoms depends on the severity of the ulcer.
The most common symptom is a burning sensation or pain in the middle of your abdomen between your chest and belly button. Typically, the pain will be more intense when your stomach is empty, and it can last for a few minutes to several hours.
Other common signs and symptoms of ulcers include:
- dull pain in the stomach
- weight loss
- heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the chest)
- pain that may improve when you eat, drink, or take antacids
- anemia, whose symptoms can include tiredness, shortness of breath, or paler skin
- dark, tarry stools
- vomit thats bloody or looks like coffee grounds
Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms of a stomach ulcer. Even though discomfort may be mild, ulcers can worsen if they arent treated. Bleeding ulcers can become life-threatening.
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What Should I Expect Before An Upper Endoscopy
To help your doctor clearly view the digestive tract, you should go into the procedure with an empty stomach. Your doctor will review preparation with you. You may need to prepare with:
- Food and drink: Consume only clear liquids for six to eight hours before the procedure.
- Medications: Stop taking medicines that thin blood or affect blood clotting, including aspirin. You may need to switch medications for diabetes or high blood pressure. Follow your doctors recommendation.
What Are The Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
Each persons symptoms may vary. In some cases ulcers dont cause any symptoms.
The most common ulcer symptom is a dull or burning pain in your belly between your breastbone and your belly button . This pain often occurs around meal times and may wake you up at night. It can last from a few minutes to a few hours.
Less common ulcer symptoms may include:
- Feeling full after eating a small amount of food
- Bloody or black stool
- Vomiting blood
Peptic ulcer symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
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You Bleed When You Use The Bathroom
Blood coming from the gastrointestinal tract can signal a variety of underlying health issues, but Dr. Sengupta says when this bleeding is combined with upper abdominal pain, hes highly suspicious that its one of the signs of an ulcer. Many patients notice this blood either when vomiting, or when using the bathroom, as their stools may appear black. If you notice youre suffering from a bleeding GI tract, along with nausea and pain in the stomach or chest, Dr. Sengupta says doctors will often perform a blood test or an upper endoscopywhere they use a camera to look into the stomach itselfto check if an ulcer is the culprit. Blood in your stool can also be due to hemorrhoids or a symptom of colon cancer, so its a good idea to get checked out by your doctor.
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.
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How Do You Know If You Have A Stomach Ulcer
If you have a stomach ulcer, you may have:
- Burning/dull pain or gnawing pain in the center of your tummy
- Pain that worsens between meals
- Vomiting in the middle of the night
Visit the doctor/gastroenterologist if you
- Vomit blood that is bright red or dark brown
- Are passing dark, sticky, tar-like poo
- Have sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets worse steadily
- These could be the signs of internal bleeding, and this can be fatal.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Stomach Ulcer
Do you often have a dull or burning pain in your stomach that lasts anywhere from a few minutes to several hours? Does the pain seem to flare up when your stomach is empty? Have you been taking Advil, Aleve or aspirin for a long time? If your answer to these questions is yes, you might have a peptic ulcer.
At Westchester Health, we have a number of patients who come to us wanting to know if the pain theyre feeling might be an ulcer, and if so, is there is anything they can do to relieve that pain. To help them, and anyone else whos experiencing this kind of discomfort, understand stomach ulcers, what causes them and what can be done to reverse the condition, we offer this informational blog.
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Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy And Biopsy
In an upper GI endoscopy, a gastroenterologist, surgeon, or other trained health care professional uses an endoscope to see inside your upper GI tract. This procedure takes place at a hospital or an outpatient center.
An intravenous needle will be placed in your arm to provide a sedative. Sedatives help you stay relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. In some cases, the procedure can be performed without sedation. You will be given a liquid anesthetic to gargle or spray anesthetic on the back of your throat. The doctor will carefully feed the endoscope down your esophagus and into your stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope sends a video image to a monitor, allowing close examination of the lining of your upper GI tract. The endoscope pumps air into your stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see.
The doctor may perform a biopsy with the endoscope by taking a small piece of tissue from the lining of your esophagus. You wont feel the biopsy. A pathologist examines the tissue in a lab.
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What Does A Stomach Ulcer Feel Like
The classic symptoms of peptic ulcers are stomach pain and indigestion. Ulcer pain feels like burning or gnawing inside your stomach, which is between your breastbone and your belly button. It may improve temporarily when you eat or drink or when you take an antacid, medication to reduce stomach acid. It may feel worse between meals and at night when stomach acid builds up without food to digest. It may also make you feel like you dont want to eat.
How do I know if I have an ulcer or gastritis?
Gastritis and gastric ulcers share many symptoms and often go hand in hand. Gastritis can be a precursor to stomach ulcers, caused by the same conditions that will eventually cause ulcers, including H. pylori infection and mucous erosion. You may also have both.
Both gastritis and stomach ulcers can cause stomach pain, as well as symptoms of indigestion. Usually, the pain from an ulcer will feel more localized like its coming from one particular spot. But since some ulcers are silent, you might not feel it if you do have one.
If you have symptoms of either gastritis or stomach ulcer, you should seek medical care. Gastritis can lead to ulcers if it hasnt already. It can also indicate an infection or other condition that needs to be treated. Medical testing can quickly determine the causes of your stomach pain.
How can I tell if I have ulcer pain or heartburn?
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Can Stomach Ulcers Give You Acid Reflux
Thereâs a lot of confusion about the relationship between ulcers and acid reflux . Do ulcers cause acid reflux? Or does acid reflux cause ulcers?
Well, ulcers wonât give you reflux . However, chronic reflux can worsen or even cause ulcers.
Letâs get a little background here. An ulcer is a sore or hole in your digestive tract, while acid reflux is the term for your stomach acid flowing back up into your esophagus .
Acid reflux can be caused by a variety of factors, such as trigger foods, a hiatal hernia, or lifestyle risks like smoking or being overweight.
In contrast, according to the American College of Gastroenterology, the two most common causes of ulcers are a bacterium in the stomach called Helicobacter pylori , which can cause inflammation of the stomach lining that ultimately produces an ulcer, and a group of pain treatment medications called Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs , such as AdvilÂ®, AleveÂ®, and ibuprofen..
While chronic reflux isnât generally pointed to as one of the primary causes of ulcers, there definitely is a strong association between ulcers and GERD. One study found that nearly 50% of patients with an ulcer also had GERD. Thatâs because frequent backwards flow of acid can erode your esophagus or stomach lining â which doesnât do you any favors as far as ulcers are concerned.
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.
- Bloody vomit.
These symptoms require urgent medical attention.
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How Do You Check For An Ulcer
If you think you have peptic ulcer symptoms, visit your doctor. Theyll check your medical history and your symptoms. Theyll ask you about medicines you take, especially NSAIDs. Theyll do a physical exam to check for stomach pain and bloating. Theyll order some lab tests to check for ulcers.
Peptic ulcer diagnosis can follow:
Your doctor will do lab tests for peptic ulcer diagnosis. They may measure gastrin levels in your blood. Gastrin is a hormone that helps release stomach acid or digestive juices.
Theyll also check for H. pylori infection using these tests:
- Urea breath test. Your doctor will ask you to drink a liquid containing urea a waste product formed when protein breaks down in your body. H. pylori bacteria convert urea into carbon dioxide, which is the gas you breathe out. Your doctor will collect your breath sample. If you have an H. pylori infection in your stomach, your breath will have higher levels of carbon dioxide.
- Blood test. A blood test can help detect H. pylori infection.
- Stool test. Doctors use a stool test to detect H. pylori infection. Theyll check if your stool sample has the bacteria.
You may feel bloated and nauseous after the test. For a few days, you may have white or light-colored stools because of barium.
Your doctor may use gastrointestinal endoscopy along with a biopsy to diagnose peptic ulcer disease. Endoscopy and biopsy are parts of the same procedure:
How Are Esophageal Ulcers Caused
The main causes of esophageal ulcers are:
Exposure to stomach acid: This causes chronic inflammation and irritation of the esophagus, allowing ulcers to develop. Stomach acid exposure most often occurs in people with other gastrointestinal conditions. These can include hiatal hernias and GERD, or gastrointestinal reflux disease, more commonly referred to, as severe heartburn.
Caustic injury: Esophageal ulcers may be caused by ingesting a corrosive substance. This type of injury mostly affects children, but it can also occur in adults who experience psychosis, suicidal tendencies, or who are abusing alcohol.
Certain types of gastric surgery or foreign bodies can also cause esophageal ulcers.
Early intervention is key to preventing complications from esophageal ulcers.
In cases of acid reflux, treatment may include:
- Medication, such as antacids, H-2-receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors .
- Dietary and lifestyle changes, to aid digestion.
- Surgery, for severe cases. Types of surgeries include to tighten the LES valve near the top of the stomach or to insert a magnetic device to help the LES valve function.
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