What Is A Peptic Ulcer
A peptic ulcer is a break in the inner lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum. A peptic ulcer of the stomach is called a gastric ulcer of the duodenum, a duodenal ulcer and of the esophagus, an esophageal ulcer. Peptic ulcers occur when the lining these organs is eroded by the acidic digestive juices that the cells of the lining secrete of the stomach secrete. A peptic ulcer differs from an erosion because it extends deeper into the lining and incites more of an inflammatory reaction from the tissues that are involved, occasionally with scaring. Peptic ulcer also is referred to as peptic ulcer disease.
Peptic ulcer disease is common, affecting millions of Americans yearly. Moreover, peptic ulcers are a recurrent problem even healed ulcers can recur unless treatment is directed at preventing their recurrence. The medical cost of treating peptic ulcer and its complications runs into billions of dollars annually. Recent medical advances have increased our understanding of ulcer formation. Improved and expanded treatment options now are available.
Assess Your Individual Tolerance
No evidence suggests that spicy or citrus foods affect ulcer disease, although some individuals do report worsening of symptoms after eating these types of foods. It is important to find out what works for you. If you notice that your symptoms get worse after eating certain foods, then limit or avoid them so you can feel your best, making sure that you dont eliminate an entire food group.
When Should I Call The Doctor
- sudden, sharp, lasting belly pain
- bloody or black bowel movements
- bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
These could be signs of a serious problem for a child whos had a peptic ulcer, such as:
If your child takes NSAIDs and shows signs of a peptic ulcer, get medical help right away. Delaying diagnosis and treatment can lead to more problems and, possibly, the need for surgery. But with quick treatment, almost all peptic ulcers can be cured.
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How To Treat A Peptic Ulcer
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your ulcer. If tests show that you have an H. pylori infection, your doctor will prescribe a combination of medication. Youll have to take the medications for up to two weeks. The medications include antibiotics to help kill infections and proton pump inhibitors to help reduce stomach acid.
You may experience minor side effects like diarrhea or an upset stomach from antibiotic regimens. If these side effects cause significant discomfort or dont get better over time, talk to your doctor.
If your doctor determines that you dont have an H. pylori infection, they may recommend a prescription or over-the-counter PPI for up to eight weeks to reduce stomach acid and help your ulcer heal.
Acid blockers like famotidine can also reduce stomach acid and ulcer pain. These medications are available as a prescription and also over the counter in lower doses.
Your doctor may also prescribe sucralfate which will coat your stomach and reduce symptoms of peptic ulcers.
What Do You Think
Have you ever had a stomach ulcer? Did you see your doctor about it? Did she prescribe you any medication? Did you alter your diet in any way? Did you find that certain foods helped with your symptoms or made them worse in any way? Share your stories, suggestions and questions in the comments below!
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When To Seek Medical Help
Seek immediate medical attention if youre vomiting blood or observe blood in your stool. Also, old blood in the vomitus can resemble coffee grounds. And sometimes stool may not contain red blood but may be maroon or black and tarlike.
Seek immediate medical attention if your pain suddenly worsens. And make an appointment to see your doctor if:
- you have a fever greater than 100°F
- your appetite doesnt return in three to five days
- your stomach pain lasts longer than a week
- your stomach pain gets worse
This information is a summary. Always seek medical attention if youre concerned that you may be experiencing a medical emergency.
How Do I Care For Abdominal Pain And Unintentional Weight Loss At Home
Abdominal pain can cause you to not feel like eating or drinking. Drink small sips of water or a beverage that contains electrolytes, such as Pedialyte, to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Eating several small meals instead of fewer larger ones can help. Avoid high-fat, greasy foods, such as pizza or french fries. They can make your symptoms worse. Instead, try eating:
- broth-based soups
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Peptic Ulcer Disease Treatment
Your doctor may begin by prescribing medicine. Your doctor may suggest other treatments for other causes.
If you have H. pylori, your doctor will treat the infection with triple therapy. This is a combination of 2 antibiotics and bismuth subsalicylate . H. pylori can be stubborn. Take all your medicine as prescribed.
Your doctor may recommend medicines to neutralize your stomach acid. This will protect the lining in your stomach, too. These include:
- Protein pump inhibitors. This includes esomeprazole or lansoprazole .
- Histamine receptor blockers. This includes famotidine .
- Cytoprotective agents. This includes sucralfate .
If NSAIDs cause your ulcer, you may need to stop or reduce the amount you take. You may need to switch to another type of medicine for pain.
Complications Of A Peptic Ulcer
Untreated ulcers can become worse over time. They can lead to other more serious health complications such as:
- Perforation: A hole develops in the lining of the stomach or small intestine and causes an infection. A sign of a perforated ulcer is sudden, severe abdominal pain.
- Internal bleeding:Bleeding ulcers can result in significant blood loss and thus require hospitalization. Signs of a bleeding ulcer include lightheadedness, dizziness, and black stools.
- Scar tissue: This is thick tissue that develops after an injury. This tissue makes it difficult for food to pass through your digestive tract. Signs of scar tissue include vomiting and weight loss.
All three complications are serious and may require surgery. Seek urgent medical attention if you experience the following symptoms:
- sudden, sharp abdominal pain
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Supplements May Be Beneficial
If your stomach ulcer is being treated with an antibiotic, consider taking a probiotic supplement as part of your diet plan. This can help reduce antibiotic-associated symptoms. It may also improve the effectiveness of the antibiotic.
Ask your doctor what probiotic would be best to take with your antibiotic medication. Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces supplements have shown benefits in people with H. pylori ulcers.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice and curcumin extracts have shown promise in some ulcer research due to their action against H. pylori.
Bleeding Ulcers Symptoms And Causes
Bleeding ulcers are a big deal. Often having endoscopy is diagnostic and therapeutic. A gastroenterologist can use a fiberoptic camera to view the inside of the stomach and duodenum, searching for a source of bleeding.
Symptoms of a bleeding ulcer include:
- Abdominal discomfort after eating
- Upper abdominal burning or hunger pain 1 to 3 hours after eating or in the middle of the night
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Signs Of Bleeding Stomach Ulcer And Tests
Posted by Dr. Chris
Stomach ulcers are a common digestive problem and can cause significant discomfort. Sometimes these ulcers, which are open sores, may bleed. This can continue intermittently for weeks and even months. However, in some cases it can arise suddenly and be severe. As with any blood loss, this can be dangerous. For high risk patients like the elderly it can even lead to death if there is extensive blood loss without medical treatment.
Duodenal Ulcer Andchanges In Weight
Naturally,the stomach secretes a strong acid called hydrochloric acid to help digestfoods. This stomach acid plays a role to stimulate the activation of pepsin, stimulate a signal of when the food can go to the smallintestine from the stomach as well as chemical signaling the more secretion ofpancreas enzymes, and also to help fight against bad bacteria in the stomachthat came down with the food .
Eventoo low stomach acid level may contribute to poor absorption of your dietaryprotein and some key minerals. Now you understand that acid is actuallyrequired in your digestive system.
Whilestomach acid is essential for various purposes, it can also hurt the stomachlining. Thats why your stomach and duodenum is protected by a thick barrierfrom mucus layer. But this protective barrier can also get broken and damaged,resulting in inflammation or open sore .
Duodenalulcers can be attributed by several factors. The main ones are infection causedby Helicobacter Pylori bacteria and excessive use of inflammatory medications. Lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of developing the disease.
Abdominaldiscomfort, especially burning pain, is common with duodenal ulcers. The painmay also occur with other symptoms of the disease such as nausea, indigestion,and bloating . How about weight loss?
Duodenal ulcers cause abdominal discomforts that may affect your appetite, causing changes in weight. But this could be weight loss or even weight gain!
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Burning Pain In Your Abdomen
This may seem like a no-brainer but the most common sign that people experience when they have a stomach ulcer is a persistent burning pain in their abdomen. This sensation occurs when juices in the stomach used for digestion come into contact with the open sore. For the most part, the pain is felt from the breastbone to navel and is often worse at night than during the day. On the other hand, if you are someone who frequently skips meals, you may find that you experience this pain much throughout the daytime.
Who Is More Likely To Get Ulcers
One in 10 people develops an ulcer. Risk factors that make ulcers more likely include:
- Frequent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , a group of common pain relievers that includes ibuprofen .
- A family history of ulcers.
- Illness such as liver, kidney or lung disease.
- Regularly drinking alcohol.
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Faqs About Peptic Ulcer Disease
What is peptic ulcer disease?
Ulcers are breaks in the protective mucosal lining of the digestive tract that can vary in size and location.
What causes peptic ulcer disease?
Ulcers are the result of the breakdown of the mucosa, which may occur as a result of excessive gastric acid secretion. One common cause of peptic ulcer disease is infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen can also contribute to mucosal injury of the upper digestive tract and lead to peptic ulcer disease.
What are the symptoms of peptic ulcer disease?
Common symptoms of peptic ulcer disease include abdominal discomfort, pain and nausea. The discomfort or pain is sometimes described as gnawing or burning. Antacids may give temporary relief. Gastric ulcer pain is usually aggravated by eating, especially spicy foods. Because eating causes pain, many patients with gastric ulcers avoid meals and consequently lose weight. Duodenal pain may be relieved by food. Patients with duodenal ulcer may have a weight gain.
How is peptic ulcer disease diagnosed?
How is peptic ulcer disease treated?
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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Alarm Signs And Symptoms
Doctors often search for so-called “alarm signs” to help them decide if a person with abdominal pain needs urgent evaluation. Such signs include blood in the stool or vomit, anemia, persistent or severe vomiting or diarrhea, fever, weight loss, pain that awakens the patient at night and prolonged loss of appetite. A person’s family history might also prompt further investigation, as in the case of individuals whose relatives have had colon cancer.
What Ulcer Treatments Are Available
If your ulcer is bleeding, your doctor may treat it during an endoscopy procedure by injecting medications into it. Your doctor could also use a clamp or cauterization to seal it off and stop the bleeding.
For most people, doctors treat ulcers with medications, including:
- Proton pump inhibitors : These drugs reduce acid, which allows the ulcer to heal. PPIs include Prilosec®, Prevacid®, Aciphex®, Protonix® and Nexium®.
- Histamine receptor blockers : These drugs also reduce acid production and include Tagamet®, Pepcid®, Zantac® and Axid®.
- Antibiotics: These medications kill bacteria. Doctors use them to treat H. pylori.
- Protective medications: Like a liquid bandage, these medications cover the ulcer in a protective layer to prevent further damage from digestive acids and enzymes. Doctors commonly recommend Carafate® or Pepto-Bismol®.
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Stomach Ulcers Can Be Easily Cured But Without Proper Treatment It Can Become Severe
Stomach ulcers are painful sores in the stomach lining. Also known as gastric ulcers, the condition is a type of peptic ulcer that affects both the stomach and small intestine.
One tends to develop a stomach ulcer when the thick layer of mucus that safeguards your stomach from digestive acids becomes thinner and following which the digestive juices eat away the tissues that line your stomach.
However, stomach ulcers can easily be cured, but without a proper dedicated treatment, they can become severe. The symptoms could be feelings of discomfort, bleeding in vomit, weight loss, bleeding in stool and back pain among others.
Here are some preventative measures to save you against stomach ulcers.
Probiotics are a type of bacteria that maintain the balance of bacteria present in our digestive system. Add curd to your daily diet, it helps maintain intestinal good bacteria in your digestive system. Also, it can help in healing of ulcers.
Many people think that ginger has a gastro protective effect. But what they dont know is that ginger keeps the stomach clean. Ginger also helps in getting rid of constipation, bloating and gastritis.
There are some fruits that contain compounds called flavonoids, which are polyphenols. Flavonoids protect the lining of the stomach from developing ulcer. Flavonoids are found in some fruits like apples, blueberries, cherries, lemons and oranges.
Signs You May Have An Ulcer
Did you know that stomach ulcers also called peptic ulcers affect at least 1 in 10 Americans over the course of their lives? And while stomach ulcers can be treated easily when caught early, lack of medical care can lead to serious complications.
Understanding the signs of stomach ulcers is important in helping you get the treatment you need. At Prima Medicine in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, our care team has the experience and knowledge to diagnose and treat stomach ulcers. Weve curated this guide to help you recognize the warning signs of an ulcer and understand what you can do about it.
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Case 2 Diagnosis: Peptic Ulcer Disease
The patient was placed on a cardiac monitor for bradycardia and was started on a standardized nutritional rehabilitation protocol used for patients with eating disorders. A psychiatric evaluation showed no body image dysmorphism or desire to lose weight. She stabilized medically and gained 4 kg over a three-week admission but continued to experience burning postprandial epigastric pain. Gastroenterology was consulted and upper endoscopy was performed, showing gastric antral ulceration and mild duodenal nodularity. Biopsies showed mild chronic inactive gastritis and were negative for Helicobacter pylori a diagnosis of peptic ulcer disease was made. The patient was started on acid suppression with a proton-pump inhibitor , discharged home and followed in a gastroenterology clinic.
PUD develops when acid and pepsin-laden stomach contents overcome the defenses of the esophageal, gastric or duodenal mucosa, causing injury or ulceration. Rates of PUD in childhood appear to be low, with a reported incidence of five to seven children with gastric or duodenal ulcers per 2500 hospital admissions each year .
What Causes A Peptic Ulcer
Causes of peptic ulcers include
- long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- an infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori
- rare cancerous and noncancerous tumors in the stomach, duodenum, or pancreasknown as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Sometimes peptic ulcers are caused by both NSAIDs and H. pylori.
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Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers
Although the most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain in the centre of the abdomen . Not all stomach ulcers are painful.
Some people experience:
Speak to your GP immediately if:
- your symptoms persist
- you’re vomiting blood the blood can appear bright red or have a dark brown, grainy appearance like coffee grounds
- you’re passing dark, sticky, tar-like stools
- you feel a sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets steadily worse
These could be a sign of a serious complication.