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. Dont 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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Diagnosis Of Stomach Ulcers
Diagnosing a stomach ulcer in children can be a challenge. Some of the tests used for adults, such as the H. pylori antibody blood test, are less accurate in children.
Unless the symptoms are severe, a healthcare provider usually will start the investigation with minimally invasive tests. Among these are:
- GastroPanel blood tests, able to detect H. pylori and high levels of acid and pepsin that are consistent with gastritis
- Fecal antigen tests, which look for genetic evidence of H. pylori in a stool sample
- Urea breath tests, used to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in exhaled air, which can indicate an active H. pylori infection
A negative result from these tests would allow your healthcare provider to rule out digestive disorders as the cause before moving on to more invasive procedures.
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, clarithromycin and 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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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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Gastric Vs Duodenal Ulcer Symptoms
When the lining of the stomach or duodenum breaks down, it can lead to the formation of an ulcer. The stomach and duodenum have a mucosal lining that protects them, but it can get worn down.
When that happens, the acids and enzymes used in digestion can eat away at the wall of the stomach or intestine and cause an ulcer. This erosion of the lining and then the wall can result in an open sore.
There may be some differences in the symptoms of duodenal and gastric ulcers. Duodenal ulcers are likely to present with abdominal pain a few hours after meals, when the stomach is empty . The pain usually gets better after eating.
Gastric ulcers may cause pain soon after eating, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.
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Nsaids And Stomach Ulcers
The risk of ulcers increases if the drugs are taken in high doses or regularly for a long time.
Stronger NSAIDs, such as those available on prescription, carry a greater risk of stomach ulcers than those that people can buy over the counter.
A person should always check labels and consult a pharmacist or a doctor about any concerns regarding using pain relief medication. They may recommend an alternative, such as acetaminophen.
Causes Of Gastric Ulcer
There are two situations that cause the appearance of gastric ulcer:
- Excess hydrochloric acid secreted by the stomach.
- The weakening of the mucous membranes that cover and protect its wall.
These two factors are due to different causes. The most common causative agent is Helicobacter pylori. Two thirds of the worlds population have this bacteria in their digestive system. It is not known how it is transmitted. However, there are indications that point to contaminated water and food as a possible source of infection.
Another cause of gastric ulcer is the continued and abusive use of anti-inflammatories. Among those drugs is ibuprofen. On the other hand, excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco undoubtedly increases the risk of suffering from this disease.
Likewise, it should be clarified that factors such as stress and the consumption of spicy foods do not cause gastric ulcers. Only one caveat could be made: they could make it worse.
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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
- 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.
What Treatments Are There For Ulcers
Your treatment will depend on the cause of your ulcer. For example, if our tests indicate that an infection caused by helicobacter pylori is what created your ulcer, well give you antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria.
Regardless of the cause, medications that help reduce the level of acid in your stomach can help the ulcer heal. And different lifestyle changes can accelerate healing as well, such as eliminating certain foods, abstaining from alcohol, and practicing stress management.
In severe cases, surgery may be required. Your provider at Prima Medicine will work with you to create a treatment plan for your situation.
If you have a stomach ulcer or want to see if you do, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.
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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.
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 Nsaids Cause A Peptic Ulcer
To understand how NSAIDs cause peptic ulcer disease, it is important to understand how NSAIDs work. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduce pain, fever, and inflammation, or swelling.
Everyone has two enzymes that produce chemicals in your bodys cells that promote pain, inflammation, and fever. NSAIDs work by blocking or reducing the amount of these enzymes that your body makes. However, one of the enzymes also produces another type of chemical that protects the stomach lining from stomach acid and helps control bleeding. When NSAIDs block or reduce the amount of this enzyme in your body, they also increase your chance of developing a peptic ulcer.
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
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Weight Loss Or Acquire
Ulcers can result in unintentional weight reduction, as a result of signs like urge for food loss, nausea, and vomiting. Alternatively, an individual with a abdomen or duodenal ulcer could acquire weight. The stomach ache skilled with an ulcer is attributable to the abdomen acid irritating the sore consuming usually relieves this irritation by performing as a buffer between the acid and the liner of the abdomen, particularly with duodenal ulcers. Regardless of different gastrointestinal signs, an individual could eat extra to attain this reduction. PORNCHAI SODA / Getty Photographs
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 Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose A Peptic Ulcer
Endoscopy. An upper endoscopy exam is expedient because allows healthcare providers to see inside your digestive tract and also take a tissue sample to analyze in the lab. The test is done by passing a thin tube with a tiny camera attached down your throat and into your stomach and duodenum. Youll have medication to numb your throat and help you relax during the test. Your healthcare provider may use the endoscope to take a tissue sample to test for signs of mucous damage, anemia, H. pyloriinfection or malignancy. If they take a sample, you wont feel it.
Imaging tests. Imaging tests to look inside the stomach and small intestine include:
- Upper GI series. An upper GI X-ray exam examines the stomach and duodenum through X-rays. Its less invasive than an endoscopy. For the X-ray, youll swallow a chalky fluid called barium, which will coat your esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The barium helps your digestive organs show up better in black and white images.
- CT scan. Your healthcare provider might recommend a CT scan if they need to see your organs in more detail. A CT scan can show complications such as a perforation in the stomach or intestinal wall. For the test, youll lie on a table inside a scanner machine while X-rays are taken. You may drink or have an injection with contrast fluid to make your organs show up better in images.
Tests for H. pylori. Your healthcare provider might want to test you separately for H. pylori infection. Tests may include:
Signs Of Abdomen Perforation
One other uncommon and probably life-threatening complication of an ulcer is the perforation of the wall of the abdomen or duodenum. This creates a gap between the abdomen and the stomach cavity and carries with it a excessive danger of an infection. A perforation presents in sudden and intense stomach ache and tenderness. The most typical symptom of an infection is a fever. ake1150sb / Getty Photographs
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Causes Of Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers happen when theres damage to the layer that protects the stomach lining from the acids in your stomach.
This is usually a result of:
- an infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
- taking anti-inflammatory medicines , 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.
Stomach ulcers can affect anyone but are more common in people aged 60 or over. Men are more affected than women.
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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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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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.
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