History Of Ulcer Causes
Ulcers have a unique and interesting history when it comes to their suspected causes. For decades, stomach ulcers were considered to be psychosomatic, meaning a high-stress lifestyle was to blame. At the time doctors started identifying high rates of ulcers in hard-working businessmen who smoked a lot of cigarettes and were likely sleep-deprived, and then animal studies further confirmed stress-triggered ulcers. Rats producing high amounts of stomach acid experienced a decrease in stomach ulcer symptoms when researchers fed them antacids, so a connection was then drawn between ulcers, chronic stress and an increase in stomach acid, which changed ulcer treatment approaches forever.
A bacterium called Helicobacter pylori was then discovered that seemed to be present in nearly everyone suffering from ulcers. It was also found to runin families and was connected to other digestive disorders, including stomach cancer. In patients given medications/antibiotics to kill H. pylori, ulcers were often resolved at least for a period of time.
However, today its more common to treat ulcers using less risky acid-reducing drugs in combination with lifestyle and dietary changes, rather than prescribing antibiotics to kill H. pylori, which can come with complications and lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics used to combat H. pylori can work short term to lower the bacteria, but dont seem to keep it from returning without other interventions.
Diagnosis And Tests For A Stomach Ulcer
If you regularly have stomach ulcer symptoms, make an appointment with your GP, who may refer you to a consultant. If your GP or consultant suspects you have a stomach ulcer, theyll arrange a range of tests, which may include:
- A blood test to check for anaemia and that your liver and pancreas are healthy
- A stool sample, biopsy, blood or breath test to check for H. Pylori an infection which can cause stomach ulcers
- A gastroscopy when a tiny camera films the inside of your digestive system, identifying problems such as stomach ulcers. This is usually done as an outpatient case and you may be given a sedative beforehand
- A biopsy to check for stomach cancer, which can have a similar appearance to a stomach ulcer
Youll need to have a gastroscopy if you have:
- Iron-deficiency anaemia
- Difficulties in swallowing, known as progressive dysphagia
- Swelling or changes to the shape of your abdomen due to an epigastric mass
If youre over the age of 55, your doctor may recommend a gastroscopy if you have:
- Had a stomach ulcer or gastric surgery previously
- A condition called pernicious anaemia
- A family history of gastric carcinoma
What Is The Difference Between Peptic Ulcers Gerd And Gastritis
Peptic ulcers are holes or lesions that form due to too much acid. GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease, occurs when a persons stomach acid repeatedly backs up into the esophagus. Gastritis is a group of conditions that cause inflammation in the stomach. While all of these conditions affect the stomach, they are not the same and require different treatments.
Signs That Your Horse Might Have An Ulcer
Ulcers in horses can be challenging to identify as they sometimes present with quite generic symptoms. Only veterinary diagnosis will confirm whether your horse has ulcers or not but what are the telltale signs that you should keep an eye out for? Read our handy guide and become better informed.
Ulcers can present with a range of symptoms that can easily be attributed to other conditions. If you suspect something is wrong then your vet should evaluate your horse as it could be ulcers or a different issue. Ulcers rarely heal on their own without veterinary intervention. If your horse does have ulcers, your vet will need to determine which type they are as there are two different classifications:
- ESGUS Ulcers in the upper region of the horses stomach which is called the Squamous, really the lower end of the oesophagus lining and the most common of the two types of ulcer
- EGGUS Ulcers in the lower glandular region of the horses stomach
These are some of the symptoms a horse with ulcers can exhibit:
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How To Treat Ulcers
Dr. Lalezari says, “Years ago surgery was common for ulcer disease. This was before the advent of a special class of medications called proton pump inhibitors , the purple pill as the popular advertising campaign called it. Treatment with these acid suppressing medications tend to resolve the ulcer in most patients. Often Times it is a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori which is responsible for ulcer formation. If this is the cause, usually an antibiotic regimen is added to the PPI to help clear the bacteria and resolve the ulcer.”
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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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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.
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Youve Had Unexplained Vomiting
From time to time, the nausea brought on by ulcers may become so intense that it could actually cause you to vomit. Frequent vomiting is never a fun experience, but whatever you do, stay away from medications like ibuprofen and aspirin when treating the condition and other ulcer symptoms. According to Dr. Sengupta, these over-the-counter pain medications actually put you at a higher risk of developing ulcers, and can make your current ulcers worse.
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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.
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What Medicine Can I Take To Settle My Stomach
Pepto Bismol can help ease symptoms of a stomach ache like nausea and diarrhea. You can help a stomach ache by taking medications like Pepto Bismol, Gas-X, Gaviscon, Tums, and Rolaids. Pepto Bismol helps symptoms like nausea, Gaviscon can help heartburn, and Gas X is best for stomach aches caused by excess gas.
How Are Ulcers Diagnosed
To diagnose a peptic ulcer, doctors do an exam, ask about symptoms, and take a medical history. If you have stomach pain or other symptoms of an ulcer, the doctor will do some tests.
One test is called an upper gastrointestinal series. These are X-rays of the stomach, duodenum, and esophagus, the muscular tube that links the mouth to the stomach. A person drinks a liquid called barium while getting an X-ray. If theres an ulcer, it should show up on the X-ray.
Another common test to look for an ulcer is an endoscopy . A person is sedated for this procedure. Then, the doctor puts an endoscope a small, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end down the throat and into the stomach and duodenum. The doctors can see the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum to check for possible ulcers.
A doctor also can do a blood test that looks for H. pylori bacteria. This may be important if the upper GI series showed an ulcer. The blood test can be done right in the doctorâs office. Sometimes doctors test a poop sample or a personâs breath to check for the H. pylori bacteria.
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What Happens After Stomach Ulcer Treatment
A repeat gastroscopy is usually advised a few weeks after treatment has finished. This is mainly to check that the ulcer has healed. It is also to be doubly certain that the ulcer was not due to stomach cancer. If your ulcer was caused by H. pylori then a test is advised to check that the H. pylori infection has gone. This is done at least four weeks after the course of combination therapy has finished.
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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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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.
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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.
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What Is Peptic Ulcer Disease
Peptic ulcer disease is a condition in which painful sores or ulcers develop in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine . Normally, a thick layer of mucus protects the stomach lining from the effect of its digestive juices. But many things can reduce this protective layer, allowing stomach acid to damage the tissue.
Grades Of Pressure Sores
If youve been bedridden for long enough, the areas of skin that are constantly in contact with the mattress or chair will start to discolour. This shows that the skin is in danger of ulcerating.
Pressure sores are graded to four levels, including:
- grade I skin discolouration, usually red, blue, purple or black
- grade II some skin loss or damage involving the top-most skin layers
- grade III necrosis or damage to the skin patch, limited to the skin layers
- grade IV necrosis or damage to the skin patch and underlying structures, such as tendon, joint or bone.
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You Bleed When You Use The Toilet
Blood coming from the gastrointestinal tract can signal a variety of underlying health issues. Still, 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 this blood, along with nausea and pain in the stomach or chest, Dr Sengupta says doctors will often perform a blood test and an upper endoscopy where they use a camera to look into the stomach itself to check if an ulcer is the culprit. Blood in your stool can also be caused by haemorrhoids, or be a symptom of bowel cancer, so its a good idea to get checked out by your doctor.
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What Causes Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers occur when the layer protecting the stomach lining from stomach acid breaks down. This allows the stomach lining to become damaged.
This is usually caused by:
- 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
There’s little evidence that stress or certain foods causes stomach ulcers.
More about the causes of stomach ulcers
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How Do You Know If You Have An Ulcer
You may not if the sore is just opening and youÃÂ¢re symptom-free, said Dr. Rajapaksa. But when an ulcer forms and deepens into the stomach lining, youÃÂ¢ll feel it, she says. Common symptoms include burning pain and nausea, even vomiting in some cases. ÃÂ¢You may also feel a gnawing feeling of hunger,ÃÂ¢ said Dr. Rajapaksa. ÃÂ¢People with ulcers tend to feel a little bit better after they eat because food almost helps coat the stomach.ÃÂ¢
If you notice these signs, Dr. Rajapaksa recommends seeing your healthcare provider a.s.a.p. ÃÂ¢Certainly if youÃÂ¢re vomiting blood, I would hope that everyone knows to immediately go to the hospital,ÃÂ¢ said Dr. Rajapaksa. ÃÂ¢But even if youÃÂ¢re having other symptoms at home and you suspect you have an ulcer, I would suggest you get it diagnosed instead of trying to wait it out, or seeing if the pain goes away.ÃÂ¢
According to the National Library of Medicine, your health care provider can check if you have an H. pylori infection by testing your blood, breath, or stool. Your provider also may look inside your stomach and duodenum by doing an endoscopy or x-ray. Though ulcers cannot be diagnosed with an x-ray test, the test may detect perforation due to an ulcer.
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:
- Dairy products that have live cultures, like yogurt, kefir, and aged cheeses
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