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What Are The Symptoms Of A Stomach Ulcer Uk

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Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers

How a peptic ulcer develops

You may not have symptoms straightaway with an ulcer. Youre more likely to have a so-called silent ulcer if you are male, older, smoke, or are taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

If you do have symptoms, a common one is abdominal pain or discomfort. You may also have pain in the middle of your back. If you have a duodenal ulcer , the pain tends to come on a couple of hours after a meal. Generally, it goes away when you eat again. You may also have pain that wakes you up at night when you have an empty stomach.

A gastric ulcer generally causes pain shortly after eating. Lying flat may relieve it. An oesophageal ulcer may cause abdominal or lower chest pain and make it difficult to swallow.

Indigestion is often a sign of a peptic ulcer. You may:

  • feel or be sick
  • have heartburn when the contents of your stomach go back up your oesophagus

Some symptoms may mean you have peptic ulcer complications. Or they can be caused by another medical condition, including cancer. You should see your GP urgently if you:

  • are losing weight without dieting
  • see blood in your vomit or your poo looks black and tar-like
  • are very tired, as this may be caused by anaemia
  • have trouble swallowing
  • feel full soon after youve started eating

Contraception And Family Planning

Who do I see: Family Planning Clinic/GP/Practice NurseAdvice: Find out more information about Ealing Family Planning Clinics. Contraception and family planning appointments are available at various times every day. For a GP or a Practice Nurse, please book an appointment online, or contact reception on 0208 810 5545 to make an appointment. Routine appointments within 2 4 weeks.

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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Mayo Clinic Q And A: How Is A Peptic Ulcer Treated

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Last year,I was diagnosed with heartburn due to a peptic ulcer. My doctor suggested that I see a specialist. Who should I see, and what type of treatment is available?

ANSWER: Many people will note that they have “heartburn,” and it is important to know that such a symptom could be related to one of several issues in the digestive tract, including peptic ulcer disease. This is where visiting with a health care professional who specializes in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract a gastroenterologist can help.

Once diagnosed and treated, ulcers usually heal within several months. But a gastroenterologist can help you find the underlying cause of your ulcer and decide on the best treatment going forward.

A peptic ulcer is an open sore on the inside lining of the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers are not rare, and their frequency can depend on age, gender, other medical issues, medications and geography.

It’s possible to have a peptic ulcer and not have any symptoms, although they may cause stomach pain. In some people, a peptic ulcer isn’t identified until they experience symptoms related to a complication from an ulcer, such as bleeding or a hole in the lining of the stomach or bowel.

H. pylori is a bacterium that can live in the mucous layer covering the lining of the stomach. It doesn’t always lead to health problems, but it can sometimes trigger inflammation of the stomach’s inner layer, producing an ulcer.

Common Treatments For A Stomach Ulcer

Peptic ulcer: Symptoms,Causes and it

Over-the-counter antacid medication will provide instant, short-term relief from many symptoms, including stomach ulcer pain. A usual course of antacid medication is four to eight weeks. Lifestyle changes can also help. Try:

  • Reducing stress
  • Stopping smoking
  • Eating smaller meals and avoiding eating late at night

Treating the cause of your stomach ulcer is the best course of action, but which treatment youll receive will depend on the cause of your ulcer.

If youre diagnosed with an H. Pylori infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and acid-suppressing medication to help your stomach ulcer heal and clear the infection. If you dont complete the full course of your medication, your ulcer is likely to return.

If you take NSAIDs, your doctor may review your medication and prescribe alternative pain relief, such as paracetamol, to allow your stomach ulcer to heal. If you need to take NSAIDs for other conditions, your doctor may suggest taking acid-suppressing medication indefinitely.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe acid-suppressing medication for short term use. Proton pump inhibitors prevent further damage to the stomach ulcer and help it heal naturally as they reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces. PPIs are often prescribed for four to eight weeks. Antacids neutralise your stomach acid and provide immediate short-term relief. Some antacid medication contains alginate which further protects the lining of your stomach.

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How Are Ulcers Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider may be able to make the diagnosis just by talking with you about your symptoms. If you develop an ulcer and youre not taking NSAIDs, the cause is likely an H. pylori infection. To confirm the diagnosis, youll need one of these tests:


If you have severe symptoms, your provider may recommend an upper endoscopy to determine if you have an ulcer. In this procedure, the doctor inserts an endoscope through your throat and into your stomach to look for abnormalities.

H. Pylori tests

Tests for H. pylori are now widely used and your provider will tailor treatment to reduce your symptoms and kill the bacteria. A breath test is the easiest way to discover H. pylori. Your provider can also look for it with a blood or stool test, or by taking a sample during an upper endoscopy.

Imaging tests

Less frequently, imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans are used to detect ulcers. You have to drink a specific liquid that coats the digestive tract and makes ulcers more visible to the imaging machines.

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How Are Stomach Ulcers Treated

There are several medications that can be used to treat a gastric ulcer.

If H. Pylori is the cause of the ulcer, the treatment will be what is known as triple therapy, using a combination of antibiotics.

Other medications that can neutralise heartburn and the stomach lining include:

  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Histamine receptor blocker
  • Stomach protectors.

If anti-inflammatory medications have caused the ulcer and there is no sign of H. Pylori, then reducing the amount of medications taken is crucial. Another option is to look into a different type of painkiller.

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How Are Stomach And Duodenal Ulcers Diagnosed In A Child

Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Your childs treatment will also depend on whats causing his or her ulcer. For instance, ulcers caused by H. pylori need different treatment from ulcers caused by using NSAIDs.

Your childs healthcare provider will ask about his or her health history. He or she will also give your child an exam. Your child may need more tests before his or her ulcer is diagnosed.

What Causes Peptic Ulcers

Understanding Stomach and Duodenal Ulcers

In the past, experts thought lifestyle factors such as stress and diet caused ulcers. Today we know that stomach acids and other digestive juices help create ulcers. These fluids burn the linings of your organs.

Causes of peptic ulcers include:

  • H. pylori bacteria . Most ulcers are caused by an infection from a bacteria or germ called H. pylori. This bacteria hurts the mucus that protects the lining of your stomach and the first part of your small intestine . Stomach acid then gets through to the lining.
  • NSAIDs . These are over-the-counter pain and fever medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Over time they can damage the mucus that protects the lining of your stomach.

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Ulcers With Other Causes

up to 90 percent of peptic ulcers are caused by H. pylori and NSAID use. But, a recent review in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention states that ulcers without H. pylori infection or NSAID use are increasing.

The study, which took place in Thailand, suggests that other factors, including alcohol, other infections, medications, or diseases, including stomach and intestinal cancer, may be to blame.

People with symptoms of a peptic ulcer may undergo a test known as an upper endoscopy. A doctor passes a lighted, flexible tube with a camera through the mouth and into the stomach. In some cases, it is possible to treat a bleeding ulcer during the endoscopy.

Doctors often treat ulcers with medications that block or reduce stomach acid. These medicines include:

  • Proton pump inhibitors dexlansoprazole , esomeprazole , omeprazole , lansoprazole , pantoprazole , and rabeprazole .
  • H2 blockers cimetidine , famotidine , and nizatidine .

People who take NSAIDs and who are diagnosed with a peptic ulcer may need to stop taking the NSAID.

When a doctor diagnoses a person with a H.pylori infection, they will prescribe antibiotics and other medicines to kill the bacteria. H. pylori is tricky to kill, so to ensure that the treatment is successful, a person must take all medicines as prescribed, even if they feel better.

Peptic Ulcer Disease: When To Call

911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You vomit blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
  • You pass maroon or very bloody stools.

or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse belly pain.
  • Your stools are black and look like tar, or they have streaks of blood.

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of H Pylori Infections

Many people who get an H. pylori infection dont realize it. Often, these infections dont cause symptoms.

When the bacteria do cause symptoms, they’re usually either symptoms of gastritis or peptic ulcer disease.

In kids, symptoms of gastritis may include:

In older kids and adults, the most common symptom of peptic ulcers is a lasting or burning belly pain, usually in the area below the ribs and above the navel. This pain often gets worse on an empty stomach and gets better as soon as the person eats food, drinks milk, or takes antacid medicine.

Peptic ulcers that bleed can cause:

  • hematemesis : bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • melena : stool that’s black, bloody, or looks like tar

Can H Pylori Infections Be Prevented

The Health Website : Gastric (Stomach) ulcer

There’s no vaccine against H. pylori. But taking these steps can protect your family from many illnesses and help lower their risk of an H. pylori infection:

  • Wash hands well and often, especially after using the bathroom and before making or eating food.
  • Avoid food if youre not sure that it was prepared safely.
  • Drink water from a safe source.

Read Also: What Foods Should Be Avoided With Stomach Ulcers

How Do You Treat A Stomach Ulcer

Edited by: Laura Burgess

A peptic ulcer is a break or sore in the lining of the stomachor the first part of the small intestine . Gastric ulcers occur on the inside of the stomach. Many people with a peptic ulcer will not exhibit symptoms and they are discovered incidentally during an endoscopy examination of the stomach. Expert gastroenterologist Dr David Neal explains the signs of a peptic ulcer and how it is treated

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bleeding Ulcer

Bleeding ulcers dont always cause pain. Sometimes the first signs of a bleeding ulcer are signs of anemia. These include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.

You might have a heavier bleed if you notice:

  • Blood in your poop, or black poop that resembles tar.

These symptoms require urgent medical attention.

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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.

Other Causes And Factors

The FASTEST Way to Heal an Ulcer

Other causes are rare. For example, some viral infections can cause a stomach ulcer. Crohn’s disease may cause a stomach ulcer in addition to other problems of the gut.

Stomach cancer may at first look similar to an ulcer. Stomach cancer is uncommon but may need to be ‘ruled out’ if you are found to have a stomach ulcer.

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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:

What Is Stomach Ulcer

A stomach ulcer , also known as an ulcer or peptic ulcer , is a type of sore that forms in the lining of the stomach. Ulcer symptoms include abdominal pain , sometimes bleeding, and other digestive symptoms. The most common cause of ulcer is infection associated with the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori . Other risk factors for ulcers include alcohol use and long-term use of various medications. Various digestive system diseases have also been associated with the development of ulcers.

Symptoms of stomach ulcers may be constant or irregular, and the course of the disease varies from person to person. If Helicobacter Pylori is the cause of the ulcer, you will continue to experience symptoms unless the infection is treated. Some people with ulcers have no symptoms, while others may have heartburn , severe nausea, and vomiting.

If the cause of the stomach ulcer is Helicobacter Pylori bacteria, then the ulcer can be successfully treated with antibiotics. For ulcers not related to bacteria, treatment may be antacids or other medications that your doctor will prescribe. You can also reduce your risk of infection by washing fresh foods before consuming them and following common-sense hygiene practices by taking care of yourself.

You should see a doctor if you experience severe, writhing stomach pain , blood in your stools , or tarry stools and similar ulcer symptoms. If you are being treated for ulcers but still have symptoms, it is still very important to see your doctor.

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What Medical Tests Are Available For Stomach Ulcers

Your specialist will ask about the symptoms you’re experiencing, your medical history, and they will carry out a physical examination to check if there is swelling and pain the stomach. They will also use a stethoscope to check for any unusual sounds around the abdomen area.

An ulcer is often treated with medications, and a test is carried out two weeks later to check that they have been effective.

If the medication has not worked, the doctor may opt to carry out an upper endoscopy, where a thin tube with a camera on the end is inserted in the throat to examine the state of the stomach. A biopsy may also be carried out.

The gastric ulcer sore is formed when the stomach is exposed and vulnerable to its own acidity. This can be caused by different things:

  • Infection caused by Helicobacter pylori
  • Excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks, which irritate the gastric mucosa

Your lifestyle can also be the cause of an ulcer. Having an unbalanced diet that’s rich in fat and sugar can worsen symptoms. Caffeine and spicy food can aggravate stomach ulcer symptoms and cause the ulcer to worsen. This can cause other gastric issues to appear or progress, an example being gastroesophageal reflux disease .

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.

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