A Dull Burning Or Hunger
Approximately 1 in 5 senior citizens suffering from abdominal pain are likely to have a peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcer disease accounts for 16 percent of older patients complaining of abdominal pain.5
The most predominant symptom of a peptic ulcer is abdominal discomfort a gnawing or burning pain between the navel and the breast bone being most evident.6
- Duodenal ulcers generally cause a gnawing pain in the upper abdomen that encroaches on an empty stomach hours after eating.7 Eating some food may offer some relief.
- Stomach ulcers, on the other hand, cause a dull ache on a full stomach or in the middle of the night.8 Consumption of food does not help and may only make matters worse.
Some individuals may experience an empty feeling in the stomach a pain that feels like hunger 1 to 3 hours after a meal.9
Peptic ulcer pain can last from a few minutes to hours and may intermittently keep troubling you over a span of days and even months.10
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.
If Your Ulcer Was Caused By Helicobacter Pylori
Most stomach ulcers are caused by infection with H. pylori. Therefore, a main part of the treatment is to clear this infection. If this infection is not cleared, the ulcer is likely to return once you stop taking acid-suppressing medication. For more information, see the separate leaflet called Helicobacter Pylori.
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When Should You Call Or See A Doctor
If you think you have a stomach ulcer, call your doctor. Together you can discuss your symptoms and treatment options. If you dont already have a physician, you can use the Healthline FindCare tool to find a provider near you.
Its important to get a stomach ulcer taken care of because without treatment, ulcers and H. pylori can cause:
- bleeding from the ulcer site that can become life-threatening
- penetration, which occurs when the ulcer goes through the wall of the digestive tract and into another organ, such as the pancreas
- perforation, which occurs when the ulcer creates a hole in the wall of the digestive tract
- obstruction in the digestive tract, which is due to swelling of inflamed tissues
- stomach cancer, specifically
Symptoms of these complications can include those listed below. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to call you doctor right away:
How Are Ulcers Treated
Some mild cases of ulcers may not need medical attention as they will heal on their own. However, not seeking proper medical treatment may result in these ulcers coming back.
Antibioticsare normally prescribed to eliminate the infection, and sometimes an acidreducer. They may be prescribed to be taken twice a day for 1 to 2 weeks.
If NSAIDs are causing the ulcers, a doctor may prescribe a protective medication to take along with it.
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What Happens During The Test
During the test, you will be asked to exhale into a balloon-like bag. The air you breathe into this bag is tested to provide a basis for comparison . You will then be asked to drink a small amount of a pleasant lemon-flavored solution. Fifteen minutes after drinking the solution, a second breath sample will be taken. The air you breathe into this bag is tested for an increase in carbon dioxide.
Could I Have An Ulcer And Not Know It
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Around 25 million people will have a stomach ulcer in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite their prevalence, the symptoms of an ulcer can frequently be mistaken for other conditions, like heartburnand some people may not show any signs at all. Its also unlikely that stress or your diet is the culprit. If youre concerned that your stomach pain could be something more serious, read on to find out the causes, proper treatment and prevention methods for peptic ulcers.
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How Can I Be Sure Its An Ulcer
The only way to be sure an ulcer is causing your discomfort is with a medical diagnosis. We will evaluate your medical history and conduct a thorough physical examination.
To determine the root cause of your ulcer, we may run blood, stool, or breath tests. These tests are designed to look for signs of helicobacter pylori, the bacteria linked to ulcers.
Depending on your unique symptoms, we may also order an endoscopy. During an endoscopy, we insert a tube with a tiny camera down your throat and into your stomach to take pictures of any potential damage and collect tissue samples for analysis.
You Have Heartburn At Most Meals
If you find yourself experiencing frequent heartburn, regardless of what you eat, an ulcer may be responsible. Many patients with ulcers describe feeling very intense chest pain, which often causes them to burp or hiccup more than usual after eating. In many cases, a simple over-the-counter antacid can be taken to temporarily alleviate some of the pain and gassiness, but if it persists day after day, its likely something more than a regular case of heartburn.
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Common Warning Signs Of Ulcers
Ulcers are a common medical issue that affects about one in ten people in America. They occur when acid in the digestive tract eats away at the inner surface of the esophagus, stomach or small intestine. The acid can create a painful open sore that may bleed. You can get them anywhere on your body for any reason, but the most common form of ulcers occur in your stomach.
Although there is no single cause for an ulcer, many factors can increase your risk of stomach ulcers including painkillers, excessive drinking of alcohol and smoking tobacco. Luckily, ulcers are easy to treat once you recognize the symptoms of them. Here are five common signs of a stomach ulcer:
Abdominal Pain: A burning sensation may occur in your stomach. The pain will come and go in waves and is often accompanied by bloating. Many may confuse this feeling with acid reflux or other similar diseases. If the abdominal pain starts after you eat, keeps you up at night, and lasts a prolonged period it might be an ulcer.
Nausea: Due to the imbalance in your digestive system, mild to severe nausea may occur, either first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, or after eating. Because of nausea that will occur, rapid weight loss also comes in conjunction with it as well.
Bloating: A feeling of heaviness and fullness can occur in the stomach, usually the same feeling you get after drinking a full glass of water.
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
- Blood in your stools
- 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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Common Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcer And When To Seek Medical Help
The very mention of the word ulcer is likely to cause an internal, evidently physical discomfort. Thats exactly what peptic ulcers do. They cause a difficult-to-ignore burning pain in your stomach, sometimes in the dead of night, capable of stirring you awake. Misjudging this pain to be a simple case of indigestion may be your natural reaction. However, if this has been happening frequently, do not carelessly dismiss it because pain is your bodys way of signaling you to take care of yourself.
To make some sense and understand where the malfunction lies, we first need to understand what peptic ulcers are.
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.
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How To Prevent Ulcers
Be careful when taking pain relievers.
Patients suffering from arthritis and other medical conditions which cause chronic pain, often take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs for months and weeks to alleviate the swelling and pain. These pain relievers can have a negative effect on the mucus which protects your stomach from acid, increasing your chances of developing peptic ulcers.
These pain relievers include:
- Naproxen sodium
To lower the chances of developing peptic ulcers while taking NSAIDs, it is advisable to take the lowest possible dose to ease your symptoms. Take your medication with food and stop taking it as soon as you dont need it. It is also advisable to avoid drinking alcohol while taking these medications.
When Should I See A Doctor If I Think I Have A Peptic Ulcer
- If you have burning pain in your upper stomach that is relieved by eating or taking antacids, call a health-care professional for an appointment. Don’t assume you have an ulcer. Certain other conditions can cause similar symptoms.
- If you vomit blood or have other signs of gastrointestinal bleeding, go to an emergency department right away. Peptic ulcers can cause massive bleeding, which requires blood transfusion or surgery.
- Severe abdominal pain suggests perforation or tearing of an ulcer. This is an emergency that may require surgery to fix a hole in your stomach.
- Vomiting and abdominal pain also can be a sign of an obstruction, another complication of peptic ulcers. This also may require emergency surgery.
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Dull Pain In The Stomach
Dull and burning pain is the most common symptom of an ulcer. The pain is felt anywhere between the belly button and the breastbone. It can also travel out from the middle of the stomach up to the neck, down to the belly button, or through to the back.
Stomach acid helps break down and absorb the food consumed. Excess stomach acid makes the pain worse because it creates painful sores within the stomach.
This kind of pain is often more severewhenever the stomach is empty such as between meals or at night. Sometimes itcan also start a few hours after eating. This pain can last for several minutesto several hours. The burning pain is sometimes made better by eating or aggravatedbetween one and three hours after a meal. This occurs when food can no longerneutralize the acid produced by the stomach.
Taking antacids may help relieve some of the pain but it doesnt help cure the ulcer. The pain will just keep coming back. Eating certain foods can help buffer stomach acid.
What Natural Home Remedies Help Peptic Ulcer Pain
Home care for peptic ulcers often centers on neutralizing the stomach acid.
- Don’t smoke, and avoid coffee and alcohol. These habits increase gastric acid production and weaken the mucosal barrier of the GI tract promoting ulcer formation and slowing ulcer healing.
- Don’t take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Acetaminophen is a good substitute for some conditions. If acetaminophen doesn’t help, talk to your health-care professional about alternatives.
- If your symptoms are mild, try an over-the-counter antacid or nonprescription histamine blocker to neutralize stomach acid. Usually stronger prescription medications are needed.
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What Is An Ulcer
An ulcer is the result of an imbalance in digestive fluids. It occurs when the linings of the stomach or the small intestines become deeply eroded.
Ulcersrange from quite small to an inch or more in size.
Stomach ulcers are also known as gastric ulcers. Just as pepticulcers are any ulcers that affect both the stomach and small intestines.
The stomach produces a strong acid to help digest food and protect against microbes. To protect the tissues of the body from this acid, it also secretes a thick layer of mucus. If the mucus layer is worn away and stops functioning effectively, the acid can damage the stomach tissue causing an ulcer.
In some cases, the body produces too much stomach acid. As a result, the mucous lining becomes damaged or worn away. When this happens, the acid may damage the lining of the digestive tract and cause an ulcer sore.
Peptic ulcer remains a common problem in the United States. Around 10% of people will have peptic ulcer disease at some point in their life.
Gastric Ulcer Symptoms Causes And Treatment Know Them All
Gastric ulcer symptoms vary, and this frequent condition can greatly affect the life of the one who suffers from it. Learn all about it!
The excess of gastric acids that some people suffer makes them more prone to developing gastric ulcers. That is, they occur when the lining of the stomach or duodenum is damaged. Therefore, a gastric ulcer is a wound or sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum. However, it could appear in the esophagus and even in later sections of the small intestine.
Most ulcers occur in the first layer of lining that covers the affected organ. Sometimes they are so large that they pierce the stomach. If this were to happen, the patients life would be in danger. Hence, it must be addressed with the utmost urgency.
Hence, it is essential to know this disorder. This way we will be in better conditions to prevent it.
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What Are The Complications Of Ulcers
- Bleeding This can range from a trickle to a life-threatening bleed
- Perforation This is the term used to describe the ulcer having gone all the way through the wall of the stomach. It may cause severe pain and makes a patient feel very unwell.
- Stomach blockage This is a rare occurrence. An ulcer at the end of the stomach can cause the part of the stomach that goes into the duodenum to narrow and cause an obstruction. This can cause frequent severe vomiting.
- Fistula This occurs whena perforated ulcer can establish a connection with an adjacent abdominal organ or structure. Exchange of material and fluids may happen between the adjacent structures resulting in vomiting these materials or hemorrhages.
What Are Peptic Ulcers And How Are They Caused
Duodenal ulcers are common in the middle-aged and in men, whereas stomach ulcers are common in the elderly and in women.1
Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum when the protective mucus overlaying this lining is eroded.
The acid-resistant gut mucosa can be compromised because of:
- An H. Pylori bacterial infection2: This infection disrupts the integrity of the muscosal lining.
- Long-term use of NSAIDs 3: NSAIDS include common OTC drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome4: In this condition,abnormal gastrin secretion by tumors in the duodenum or pancreas cause stomach acids to be produced in excess of the normal. High concentrations of acid become too overbearing for the mucosal layer to counteract.
Whatever the reason for erosion of mucus, it leaves the stomach and duodenal lining exposed, vulnerable, and at the mercy of strong stomach acids.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
You should visit your GP if you think you may have a stomach ulcer.
Seek urgent medical advice if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- vomiting blood the blood can appear bright red or have a dark brown, grainy appearance, similar to coffee grounds
- passing dark, sticky, tar-like stools
- a sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets steadily worse
These could be a sign of a serious complication, such as internal bleeding.
Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
You may not have symptoms straightaway with an ulcer. Youre more likely to have a so-called silent ulcer if you are male, older, smoke, or are taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.
If you do have symptoms, a common one is abdominal pain or discomfort. You may also have pain in the middle of your back. If you have a duodenal ulcer , the pain tends to come on a couple of hours after a meal. Generally, it goes away when you eat again. You may also have pain that wakes you up at night when you have an empty stomach.
A gastric ulcer generally causes pain shortly after eating. Lying flat may relieve it. An oesophageal ulcer may cause abdominal or lower chest pain and make it difficult to swallow.
Indigestion is often a sign of a peptic ulcer. You may:
- feel or be sick
- have heartburn when the contents of your stomach go back up your oesophagus
Some symptoms may mean you have peptic ulcer complications. Or they can be caused by another medical condition, including cancer. You should see your GP urgently if you:
- are losing weight without dieting
- see blood in your vomit or your poo looks black and tar-like
- are very tired, as this may be caused by anaemia
- have trouble swallowing
- feel full soon after youve started eating
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