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
- blood in your stool or black, tarry stools
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.
When Should I Go To Er
Seek emergency care if you have:
- Severe pain that doesnt go away.
- Signs of blood in your poop or bloody vomit.
- Signs of severe blood loss, such as paleness and faintness.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Stomach ulcers are common and treatable, but they should be taken seriously. Even when they dont cause symptoms, they arent a good sign. A stomach ulcer means that your natural stomach acid is overwhelming your protective stomach lining. Thats a situation that can only get worse if it isnt managed. Lifestyle changes may help, but youll still need to treat the underlying cause. Its probably either NSAID use or a common bacterial infection. Your healthcare provider can help prescribe the right medicines for your condition.
How Do You Treat Stomach Ulcers
The goal of treatment is to heal the stomach lining. Some small ulcers will go away on their own, although they can come back.
Our gastroenterologists will first determine the cause of the ulcer. If its H. pylori, the usual course of treatment is antibiotics.
If the ulcer is caused by excessive use of aspirin and ibuprofen, the doctor will recommend the patient stop taking them, and find a new pain reliever.
The primary treatment of stomach ulcers is the proton pump inhibitor medications.
These medications reduce acid production so that the stomach lining can heal. Our gastroenterologists will prescribe the appropriate medication for the optimal duration, to ensure that ulcers heal completely.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach And Duodenal Ulcers In A Child
Ulcers dont always cause symptoms.
The most common symptom is a gnawing or burning pain in the stomach. This is often felt between the breastbone and the belly button . Your child may feel the pain more between meals and in the early morning. It may last from a few minutes to a few hours.
Less common ulcer symptoms include:
Tiredness and weakness
The symptoms of ulcers may look like other health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How Soon After Treatment Will I Feel Better
If you take all medicines as prescribed and avoid irritating the ulcer with NSAIDs, alcohol or smoking, your ulcer should heal well within a few weeks. Surgical cases may take a few weeks more. Your healthcare provider will follow up with you at the end of your course of medication to make sure the ulcer has healed and any infection has cleared. They will probably take follow-up tests, including an upper endoscopy to look at the site of the ulcer and tests for H. pylori, if you had it, to make sure the infection is gone.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Peptic Ulcer
A dull or burning pain in your stomach is the most common symptom of a peptic ulcer. You may feel the pain anywhere between your belly button and breastbone. The pain most often
- happens when your stomach is emptysuch as between meals or during the night
- stops briefly if you eat or if you take antacids
- lasts for minutes to hours
- comes and goes for several days, weeks, or months
Less common symptoms may include
- feeling sick to your stomach
Even if your symptoms are mild, you may have a peptic ulcer. You should see your doctor to talk about your symptoms. Without treatment, your peptic ulcer can get worse.
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Are There Foods I Should Avoid If I Have A Stomach Ulcer
Interestingly, there is no specific diet that a person with ulcers needs to follow. The current recommendations are less about the foods you should avoid and more about foods that will help you lessen the risk of developing an ulcer in the first place.
If youve developed a stomach ulcer or are at risk of developing one, you should include more of these foods in your diet:
- Fruits and vegetables that are full of antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory
- Nuts, halibut, and yellowfin tuna, which all have selenium to enhance your ability to heal
- Probiotics that have active bacterial properties, such as yogurt, to improve digestion
- Spinach, oysters, and beef, which contain zinc to help you maintain a healthy immune system
Plenty of water, leafy greens, and fermented probiotic foods have all clinically been shown to help lessen your risk of developing ulcers. During the holiday season, you will want to take additional care of yourself and pay attention to your stress levels. Talk with your doctor about whether adding a probiotic supplement could also help you.
On the other hand, if you have acid reflux in addition to a stomach ulcer, there are foods that may trigger your acid reflux. In these instances, its a good idea to avoid alcohol and coffee, as well as spicy and acidic foods, which could cause your discomfort to increase.
How Are Peptic Ulcers Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will look at your past health and give you a physical exam. You may also have some tests.
Imaging tests used to diagnose ulcers include:
- Upper GI series or barium swallow. This test looks at the organs of the top part of your digestive system. It checks your food pipe , stomach, and the first part of the small intestine . You will swallow a metallic fluid called barium. Barium coats the organs so that they can be seen on an X-ray.
- Upper endoscopy or EGD . This test looks at the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. It uses a thin lighted tube called an endoscope. The tube has a camera at one end. The tube is put into your mouth and throat. Then it goes into your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Your health care provider can see the inside of these organs. A small tissue sample can be taken. This can be checked for H. pylori.
You may also have the following lab tests to see if you have an H. pylori infection:
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What To Expect On The Day Of Surgery
When you go to your surgery appointment, you will register and sign a consent form. You may have some pre-operative testing before you go to the pre-surgical area. These tests may include a chest X-ray, CBC, blood chemistry panel, and a urine test.
You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. You will have your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, and oxygen level checked.
If you are having stomach ulcer surgery for an emergency, like a perforation, your preparation will happen quickly. You will need to have IV fluids and possibly a blood transfusion during this period.
What Is Stomach Ulcer Surgery
Peptic ulcer surgery is an operation for repair of stomach damage that’s caused by an ulcer. A stomach ulcer is an erosion on the inside of the stomach lining, and it is also referred to as a peptic ulcer or a gastric ulcer. It can develop slowly, and you may have more than one at a time.
Approaches used in stomach ulcer surgery include:
- Laparotomy: An open procedure with a large abdominal incision
- Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery: Involves a small abdominal incision and the use of a camera-equipped surgical device for visualization and repair
- Endoscopic procedure: A flexible tube is inserted into the throat and advanced down into the stomach to repair the ulcer with the assistance of a camera and surgical tools
This video has been medically reviewed by Anju Goel, MD, MPH.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Stomach And Duodenal Ulcers In My Child
Preventing H. pylori can reduce your childs risk of ulcers. It isnt fully understood how this infection is spread. But the following may lower your childs risk of H. pylori:
Washing hands often
Not having close contact with someone who has H. pylori
Not eating or drinking contaminated food or water
Key Points About Stomach And Duodenal Ulcers In Children
Stomach and duodenal ulcers are open sores. They happen in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum.
Most ulcers are caused by an infection with Helicobacter pylori.
Treatment often includes antibiotics and medicines to block stomach acid production.
Without proper treatment, people with ulcers may have serious complications. But most people are cured with treatment.
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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.
Can A Peptic Ulcer Come Back
Yes, a peptic ulcer can come back. If you smoke or take NSAIDs, peptic ulcers are more likely to come back. If you need to take an NSAID, your doctor may switch you to a different medicine or add medicines to help prevent a peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcer disease can return, even if you have been careful to reduce your risk.
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How Stomach Ulcers Are Treated
Treatment 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 in their stomach.
Youll also need antibiotics if your ulcers were caused by a H. pylori infection.
Stomach ulcers can come back after treatment, although this is less likely to happen if the underlying cause is addressed.
What Are Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers, or gastric ulcers, are open sores on the lining of your stomach. They are fairly common. Most people with stomach ulcers feel a burning sensation in their stomach or abdomen.
Stomach ulcers are a type of peptic ulcer. They develop when the acids that normally help you to digest and break down food damage the lining of the stomach or the small intestine. This causes a break in the lining, resulting in an ulcer.
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Where Should I Keep My Medication
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C . Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
What Tests Are There For A Stomach Ulcer
If your doctor thinks you may have a stomach ulcer, the initial tests will include some blood tests. These tests will help to check whether you have become anaemic because of any bleeding from the ulcer. The blood test will also check to see that your liver and pancreas are working properly.
The main tests that are then used to diagnose a stomach ulcer are as follows:
- A test to detect the H. pylori germ is usually done if you have a stomach ulcer. The H. pylori bacterium can be detected in a sample of stool , or in a ‘breath test’, or from a blood test, or from a biopsy sample taken during a gastroscopy. See the separate leaflet called Helicobacter Pylori for more details.
- Gastroscopy is the test that can confirm a stomach ulcer. Gastroscopy is usually done as an outpatient ‘day case’. You may be given a sedative to help you to relax. In this test, a doctor looks inside your stomach by passing a thin, flexible telescope down your gullet . The doctor will then be able to see any inflammation or ulcers in your stomach.
- Small samples are usually taken of the tissue in and around the ulcer during gastroscopy. These are sent to the laboratory to be looked at under the microscope. This is important because some ulcers are caused by stomach cancer. However, most stomach ulcers are not caused by cancer.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
Each persons symptoms may vary. In some cases ulcers dont cause any symptoms.
The most common ulcer symptom is a dull or burning pain in your belly between your breastbone and your belly button . This pain often occurs around meal times and may wake you up at night. It can last from a few minutes to a few hours.
Less common ulcer symptoms may include:
- Feeling full after eating a small amount of food
- Bloody or black stool
Peptic ulcer symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
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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Purpose Of Stomach Ulcer Surgery
Peptic ulcers can cause pain, stomach discomfort, abdominal cramps, decreased appetite, hematemesis, gastrointestinal bleeding, iron deficiency anemia , and malnutrition.
Generally, the condition can be effectively treated with medication and lifestyle changes, rather than with surgical intervention. Smoking and alcohol use can contribute to stomach ulcers, and stopping these habits can help an ulcer heal. Sometimes dietary modifications, like avoiding spicy foods, can help control symptoms.
Surgical management may be needed for complications of peptic ulcer disease or for treatment of a stomach ulcer that doesn’t improve despite conservative management.
Issues that may warrant surgical intervention for the treatment of peptic ulcer disease include:
These issues can cause persistent and serious health problems. Stomach ulcer surgery would be done to alleviate your symptoms and prevent consequences to your overall health.
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone who thinks they may have an ulcer in their stomach should consult a doctor. Any stomach symptoms that last for more than a few days or keep happening need evaluation and treatment.
Symptoms of anemia, such as tiredness and breathlessness, may signal a slow-bleeding ulcer. More serious bleeding is an urgent medical problem, as people may vomit up blood, or stools are black and sticky.
Perforation is also an emergency. Without quick treatment, the wall of the stomach can become infected. Sudden stomach pain that gets worse can indicate perforation, and any signs of being very unwell with infection need treatment as soon as possible.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Any Complications
Stomach ulcers can cause various complications but these are much less common now because of more effective treatments. However, complications can be very serious and include:
Bleeding from the ulcer
- This can range from a ‘trickle’ to a life-threatening bleed.
- If there is sudden heavy bleeding then this will cause you to vomit blood and make you feel very faint.
- Less sudden bleeding may cause you to vomit and the vomit looks coffee-coloured because the stomach acid has partly broken down the blood.
- A more gradual trickle of blood will pass through your gut and cause your stools to look very dark in colour or even black .
PerforationThis is the term used to describe the ulcer having gone all the way through the wall of the stomach. Food and acid in the stomach then leak out of the stomach. This usually causes severe pain and makes you very unwell. Stomach perforation is a medical emergency and needs hospital treatment as soon as possible.
Stomach blockageThis is now rare. An ulcer at the end of the stomach can cause the outlet of the stomach to narrow and cause an obstruction. This can cause frequent severe vomiting.