How Is An Ulcer Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. They may do an endoscopy. This procedure involves inserting a thin, flexible tube attached to a camera down your throat and into your stomach. Your doctor will test your blood, breath or stool for H. pylori. They also can test a sample of your stomach lining. Your doctor also will ask you if you regularly take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medicines.
How Do H Pylori Cause A Peptic Ulcer And Peptic Ulcer Disease
H. pylori are spiral-shaped bacteria that can cause peptic ulcer disease by damaging the mucous coating that protects the lining of the stomach and duodenum. Once H. pylori have damaged the mucous coating, powerful stomach acid can get through to the sensitive lining. Together, the stomach acid and H. pylori irritate the lining of the stomach or duodenum and cause a peptic ulcer.
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What Are The Causes
Contrary to popular belief, stress and spicy foods do not cause stomach ulcers. They may aggravate an already existing ulcer but definitely not be the cause for one.
Another cause of stomach ulcers is the long-term use of pain medications known as NSAIDs . NSAIDs can weaken the stomach linings ability to resist acid made in the stomach.
Aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen are some examples of NSAID medications.
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Could I Have An Ulcer And Not Know It
5 min Read Time
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.
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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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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Risk Factors For Peptic Ulcers
Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, are a risk factor. Acidic foods and alcohol use change the stomach lining and can make it more susceptible to Helicobacter pylori infection, a known cause of stomach ulcers. Overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, and a genetic predisposition also may lead to peptic ulcers.
Other common symptoms of a peptic ulcer include:
- Discomfort, bloating
These symptoms are rare, but are more severe and could point to a complication:
- Blood in the stool black and tarry stool
- Fatigue or weakness, which can result from malnutrition or anemia due to small amounts of bleeding from the ulcer
- Unexplained weight loss
Symptoms of peptic ulcers can occur as a result of other conditions, including gastroesophageal reflux disease , chronic dyspepsia, gallbladder disease, liver disease, or a gastrointestinal infection. It’s important to see your healthcare provider to determine what’s at the root of your pain.
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What Are The Possible Complications Of Peptic Ulcer Disease
An ulcer left untreated may cause serious complications, including:
- Internal bleeding: While most people with ulcers wont have bleeding, this is the most common complication that can occur. A slow bleeding ulcer can cause anemia or even severe blood loss.
- Perforation: An ulcer that is continuously eroded by acid can eventually become a hole in the stomach or intestinal wall. This is intensely painful and also dangerous. It allows bacteria from the digestive tract to enter the abdominal cavity, which can lead to an infection of the abdominal cavity called peritonitis. From there, the infection is at risk of spreading to the rest of the body . This can lead to a life-threatening condition called .
- Obstruction: An ulcer in the pyloric channel, the narrow passageway that leads from the stomach into the duodenum, can become an obstruction that blocks the flow of food into the small intestine. This can happen after the ulcer has healed. Ulcers that have gone through a healing process may build up scar tissue that enlarges them. An ulcer that is big enough to obstruct the small intestine can stall the digestive process, with numerous side effects.
- Stomach cancer: Some gastric ulcers can become malignant over time. This is more likely when your ulcer is caused by H. pylori infection. H. pylori is a contributing cause of gastric cancer, though fortunately, this is uncommon.
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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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.
Youre More Bloated Than Usual
If you notice your stomach feeling particularly bloated, it may be more serious than a little bit of gasit could be one of the signs of an ulcer. According to RM Healthy, bloating is often one of the earliest ulcer symptoms, with patients especially complaining of pain in their midsection. Of course, bloating can also be caused simply by eating something your body doesnt agree with or not drinking enough water, but when combined with these other symptoms, its worth checking out.
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How Is The Condition Usually Treated
“Ulcers are usually treated by getting rid of the causefor example, quitting smoking, or no longer using the medicines that may be causing the ulcer,” says Boxer. “Ulcers can also be treated using proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole and pantoprazole.” Although it’s very rare, sometimes surgery is needed to resolve ulcers.
Can Peptic Ulcers Be Prevented
Doctors arent sure how H. pylori bacteria spread from person to person. The bacteria have been found in saliva , so kissing may be one way. They also may spread through food, water, or contact with vomit thats infected with the bacteria.
Regular use of NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems and bleeding in some people. Acetaminophen does not cause stomach ulcers and is a good alternative to NSAIDs.
As with many infections, washing your hands well and often is an important part of ulcer prevention. This is extra important after you use the bathroom and before you eat. And take good care of your body by exercising regularly and not smoking or drinking.
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Peptic Ulcer Facts And Picture
- Peptic ulcer are sores in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum.
- The main symptom of a stomach or duodenal ulcer is upper abdominal pain, which can be dull, sharp, or burning .
- Other associated symptoms may include:
- Acid reflux or heartburn
- Feeling satiated when eating
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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What Does A Stomach Ulcer Feels Like
Stomach ulcer pain usually begins in the upper middle part of the abdomen, above the belly button and below the breastbone. The pain may feel like burning or gnawing that may go through to the back. The onset of the pain may occur several hours after a meal when the stomach is empty. Patients have reported paint to be worse at night as opposed to the morning. Pain duration may vary from a few minutes to several hours. Pain may be relieved by foods, antacids or vomiting.
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The most common stomach ulcer symptom is, not surprisingly, stomach paintypically, a dull, burning sensation in the mid-abdominal area. Because ulcers are literally sores in the lining of the stomach or small bowel, pain classically presents in relation to acid secretion in the intestines, says Rusha Modi, M.D., gastroenterologist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at Keck Medical Center in California. The pain usually peaks between meals and at night, when acid has been secreted into the stomach but theres no food to act as a buffer. Taking antacids can temporarily relieve the pain, but odds are it will keep coming back until the ulcer is treated by a professional.
Because the ulcer is being perpetually doused in acid, stomach pain can often be paired with chronic heartburn and regurgitation . Other symptoms, such as bloating, burping, or feeling perma-full, may not be far behind, says Ravella. If taking an OTC antacid only relieves symptoms temporarily, or they seem to strike no matter what you eat, you may want to discuss this with your physician.
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How Stomach Ulcers Are Treated
With treatment, most stomach ulcers will heal within a month or two. The treatment recommended for you will depend on what caused the ulcer.
Most people will be prescribed a medication called a proton pump inhibitor to reduce the amount of acid their stomach produces and allow the ulcer to heal naturally.
If an H. pylori infection is responsible for the ulcers, antibiotics will also be used to kill the bacteria, which should prevent the ulcer coming back.
If the ulcers are caused by the use of NSAIDs, PPIs are usually prescribed and your doctor will discuss whether you should keep using NSAIDs.
Alternative medication to NSAIDs, such as paracetamol, may be recommended.
Stomach ulcers can come back after treatment, although this is less likely to happen if the underlying cause is addressed.
Read more about treating stomach ulcers.
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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Sure Signs You Have An Ulcer In Your Stomach Now
Ulcers are a common occurrence that affect 1 in 10 people according to the Cleveland Clinic and while they’re excruciating for many and leave them doubled over in pain, others don’t have symptoms or realize they have one. Although it’s been a popular misconception that ulcers are a result of high stress, coffee and spicy foods, experts we spoke with reveal the true causes and share signs you have one. Read onand to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Antacids And H2 Blockers
Antacids neutralize existing acid in the stomach. Antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, and Amphojel are safe and effective treatments. However, the neutralizing action of these agents is short-lived, and frequent dosing is required. Magnesium containing antacids, such as Maalox and Mylanta, can cause diarrhea, while aluminum containing agents like Amphojel can cause constipation. Ulcers frequently return when antacids are discontinued.
Studies have shown that a protein released in the stomach called histamine stimulates gastric acid secretion. Histamine antagonists are drugs designed to block the action of histamine on gastric cells and reduce the production of acid. Examples of H2 blockers are cimetidine , nizatidine , and famotidine . While H2 blockers are effective in ulcer healing, they have a limited role in eradicating H. pylori without antibiotics. Therefore, ulcers frequently return when H2 blockers are stopped.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
You should visit your GP if you think you may have a stomach ulcer.
Contact your GP or NHS 111 immediately if:
- you are passing dark, sticky, tar-like stools
- you have a sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets steadily worse
Go to your nearest accident and emergency department or call 999 if:
- you are vomiting blood the blood can appear bright red or have a dark brown, grainy appearance, similar to coffee grounds
These could be a sign of a serious complication, such as internal bleeding.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Stomach Ulcer
Most people with a stomach ulcer do not experience any symptoms. The most common symptom is burning pain in the upper abdomen. The pain can travel to the chest and neck, bellybutton, or back.
Other less common symptoms include:
- feeling full and bloated, or belching
- not being able to tolerate fatty foods
Sometimes, stomach ulcers can lead to more serious symptoms, such as:
- a sudden sharp pain in the stomach that gets worse
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.
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