How Acid Reflux Damages The Esophagus And Possible Complications
How GERD May Damage the Esophagus
The acid regurgitation can lead to a condition called esophagitis. Esophagitis is characterized by inflammation of the esophagus that often leads to ulcers, scar tissue, erosions, and difficulty in swallowing that cause pain and discomfort and even more acid regurgitation.
The condition can be diagnosed by your doctor by conducting an upper endoscopy and biopsy. Treatment begins immediately once the diagnosis is conclusive and you test positive for esophagitis.
Complications of Untreated GERD and Esophagitis
GERD should be treated immediately it is suspected. When left untreated GERD and esophagitis will corrode the esophagus further causing damage such as:
- Esophageal stricture this is narrowing of the esophagus caused by scar tissues from the effects of GERD. This constriction causes a great deal of pain and difficulty in swallowing and sometimes food is caught in the throat. This poses a great health risk and needs treatment as soon as possible.
- Esophageal ringsthese are rings formed from abnormal folding of the tissue in the lining of the esophagus. These rings can constrict the esophagus causing difficulty in swallowing.
- Barretts esophagusthis is a condition resulting from damage of the cells in the esophagus overtime. This damage causes the cells in the esophagus to become similar to the cells in the stomach lining. The condition usually has no symptoms and poses a risk of esophageal cancer.
Complications Of Peptic Ulcers
Left untreated, peptic ulcers can result in severe complications and emergencies.
- Internal bleeding You can have bleeding in your stomach, esophagus, or duodenum when the ulcer opens a blood vessel. Ulcers can cause bleeding that occurs slowly over time or quickly, possibly resulting in hemorrhaging that can be life-threatening due to shock. Sometimes you may not notice a bleeding ulcer until you become anemic, a condition in which your body lacks red blood cells because of inadequate iron. This occurs when ulcers cause chronic, low-grade blood loss.
- A hole, or perforation, in the stomach wall You can develop a perforated ulcer, which means it has eaten through your stomach or intestinal wall.
- Obstruction This is when you have swelling or scarring related to your ulcer that is preventing your food from being digested properly.
The signs that you are having an ulcer emergency are:
- Blood in stool
- Blood in vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Increasing pain
- Mental confusion
- Severe abdominal distension
If you think you or someone you know is having an ulcer emergency, seek immediate medical attention.
What Does A Stomach Ulcer Feel Like
The classic symptoms of peptic ulcers are stomach pain and indigestion. Ulcer pain feels like burning or gnawing inside your stomach, which is between your breastbone and your belly button. It may improve temporarily when you eat or drink or when you take an antacid, medication to reduce stomach acid. It may feel worse between meals and at night when stomach acid builds up without food to digest. It may also make you feel like you dont want to eat.
How do I know if I have an ulcer or gastritis?
Gastritis and gastric ulcers share many symptoms and often go hand in hand. Gastritis can be a precursor to stomach ulcers, caused by the same conditions that will eventually cause ulcers, including H. pylori infection and mucous erosion. You may also have both.
Both gastritis and stomach ulcers can cause stomach pain, as well as symptoms of indigestion. Usually, the pain from an ulcer will feel more localized like its coming from one particular spot. But since some ulcers are silent, you might not feel it if you do have one.
If you have symptoms of either gastritis or stomach ulcer, you should seek medical care. Gastritis can lead to ulcers if it hasnt already. It can also indicate an infection or other condition that needs to be treated. Medical testing can quickly determine the causes of your stomach pain.
How can I tell if I have ulcer pain or heartburn?
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When Should You Call Or See A Doctor
If you think you have a stomach ulcer, call your doctor. Together you can discuss your symptoms and treatment options. If you dont already have a physician, you can use the Healthline FindCare tool to find a provider near you.
Its important to get a stomach ulcer taken care of because without treatment, ulcers and H. pylori can cause:
- bleeding from the ulcer site that can become life-threatening
- penetration, which occurs when the ulcer goes through the wall of the digestive tract and into another organ, such as the pancreas
- perforation, which occurs when the ulcer creates a hole in the wall of the digestive tract
- obstruction in the digestive tract, which is due to swelling of inflamed tissues
- stomach cancer, specifically
Symptoms of these complications can include those listed below. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to call you doctor right away:
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.
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Alternative And Complementary Therapies
Certain lifestyle changes can help you recover from an ulcer.
- Watch your diet. If you know that there are specific foods that make your ulcer feel worse, avoid them until your treatment is over. For many people, these include alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods, spicy foods, and chocolate.
- Stop smoking. If you smoke, you are already at increased risk of getting an ulcer. The data also shows that ulcers take longer to heal in smokers and that the ulcer medication you are taking may be less effective. Scientists don’t know exactly why smoking has these negative effects.
- Take pain medication carefully. NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and many other commonly taken drugs, are taken for pain and fever, but can cause an ulcer if used too often. NSAIDs can also prevent an ulcer from healing as quickly as you would like, so talk to your doctor about what you can take for your other aches and pains while you are waiting for your ulcer to heal. Acetaminophen does not cause ulcers, so it may be an effective substitute. Also, be sure to read all drug labels some cough and cold liquids have NSAID ingredients in them, and you should avoid them, too.
- Cut back on alcohol. Stop drinking alcohol if you want to completely reduce your risk of additional ulcers and help your body heal.
Is It An Ulcer Or Gerd
These two common digestive health problems are easily confused. Find out how doctors can tell the difference.
Either way, you should schedule a doctors visit to find out whether you have GERD or an ulcer. Both ulcers and GERD can be treated with the help of a gastroenterologist.
Ulcer or GERD: Stomach Discomfort
The two conditions are actually different, even if they make you feel equally miserable. By some estimates, one in five people experience heartburn at least weekly. Stomach discomfort can easily have a negative effect on your life, leading to:
- Lost sleep
- Problems with eating and drinking
Ulcer or GERD: Understanding the Differences
An ulcer is a small sore or lesion in the lining of your stomach or duodenum, the first part of your intestine. This sore is often aggravated by your stomach acid, but is usually not caused by the acid itself. More likely, the cause is either a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori or taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
GERD, on the other hand, means that your stomach acid is coming up from your stomach into your esophagus, causing a burning sensation and unpleasant taste in the back of your mouth. This has to occur at least twice a week to be considered GERD.
Ulcer or GERD: Know the Symptoms
An ulcer often comes with these symptoms:
Ulcer or GERD: Making the Diagnosis
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What Are The Most Common Causes Of Esophageal Ulceration In Aids
The most common causes are cytomegalovirus and idiopathic esophageal ulcer . On endoscopy, CMV and IEU appear most often as large, well-circumscribed solitary ulcerations, with normal-appearing surrounding mucosa. Multiple ulcers may also be observed. Antiretroviral medications such as didanosine and zidovudine have also been associated with pill-induced esophagitis. Herpes simplex virus is usually associated with multiple small, shallow esophageal ulcerations, often raised with a volcano crater appearance. GERD can also present with ulcerations of the distal esophagus generally involving the gastroesophageal junction these lesions are generally linear and superficial. Neoplasms , parasites , and fungal infections are rare causes of esophageal ulcers .
Megan N. Landis, David R. Adams, in, 2021
Duration Of Peptic Ulcers
Ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori heal when the bacteria is killed. The typical course of treatment includes two weeks of antibiotics along with acid-suppressing medicine. This is followed by an additional four to eight weeks of the acid-suppressing medicine alone.
Its possible for an ulcer to heal temporarily without antibiotics, but it will likely recur or another one will form nearby if the bacteria is not killed.
Peptic ulcers caused by medication usually heal shortly after you stop taking the medication. Doctors typically recommend taking antacids for two to six weeks to assist with healing and relieve pain.
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Causes Of Esophageal Ulcer
The bottom of the esophagus has a valve known as the lower esophageal sphincter. The valve is generally closed which prevents the stomach acid from flowing back to the esophagus. Whenever the food passes through the food pipe and reaches the stomach, this valve relaxes so that the food rushes into the stomach. During the repeated inflammation of the mucous walls, the valve might get weakened. This might result in the leak of the acid into the food pipe that triggers a burning sensation in the chest. This medical condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease . Cigarette smoking damages the lower esophageal sphincter thus, allowing more acid to damage the walls of the esophagus.
GERD is the most common cause of the esophageal ulcers. However, other bacterial or fungal infections in the esophagus leading to vomiting can also be a reason for esophageal ulcers. Consumption of alcohol can also cause or worsen ulcerations. The following foods and beverages are known to trigger heartburn in people thus, causing inflammation to the walls of the esophagus:
- Beverages containing alcohol
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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Diagnosis Of Peptic Ulcers
Your GP will want to find out if youve got a peptic ulcer and whats causing it, as this will help them decide on the right treatment. Treating your ulcer as soon as possible will reduce the risk of complications.
Your GP will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They may also feel your abdomen, to check for tenderness or pain.
Your GP will want to find out if your ulcer is caused by H. pylori or by taking NSAIDs. You should tell the doctor if youve been taking over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen regularly.
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Can Stomach Ulcers Just Go Away
Some ulcers follow a chronic pattern of healing temporarily on their own and then returning. This might happen if the factors contributing to your ulcer, such as NSAID use, smoking and alcohol, are temporarily reduced and then resumed. You wont completely heal your ulcer until you eliminate the cause, whether that is chronic NSAID use, H. pylori infection or an overactive stomach. Even after successful treatment, you can get another ulcer.
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Fast Facts On Throat Ulcers:
- Treatment and management of throat ulcers will depend on what is causing them.
- Prognosis is typically good, especially for those who take their medications and follow their recommended diets.
- The pain caused by the ulcers can lead to a range of symptoms, such as difficulty eating, drinking, chewing, swallowing, or talking.
- ear pain
In the first instance, doctors will do a physical exam and evaluate a persons symptoms. They may then need to take throat cultures, using mouth swabs. Sometimes blood tests and urine tests may be required.
However, diagnosis of throat ulcers will depend on the suspected cause of the condition and may include:
Ulcers found in the throat may be related to or caused by:
- certain chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer
- bacterial infections
- fungal infections such as thrush, which is a yeast infection caused by Candida albicans
- viral infections, such as herpangina , and hand, foot and mouth disease, which are caused by Coxsackie A virus.
- conditions such as Behçets syndrome, which is an inflammatory disease that causes ulcers to form in the mouth, genitals, and other areas of the body
Ulcers found in the esophagus may be related to or caused by conditions such as:
Ulcers or granulomas found on the voice box may be related to or caused by conditions such as:
In some cases, simple lifestyle modifications may be all that is necessary, and these will be discussed in the section below.
Treatment of throat ulcers may include:
Stomach Ulcer Remedies: 10 Ways To Heal And Reduce Inflammation
An ulcer is a kind of erosion or open sore on the surface of an organ or tissue. Ulcers generally occur in the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum and are known as peptic ulcers.
Types of Peptic Ulcers
- Gastric ulcer: A peptic ulcer in the stomach is called a gastric ulcer.
- Duodenal ulcer: A duodenal ulcer is a type of peptic ulcer that develops in the first part of the small intestine .
- Esophageal ulcer: An esophageal ulcer develops in the lower part of the esophagus.
A peptic ulcer is among the most common forms of stomach disease. About 4 million Americans suffer from this condition every year.
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What Is A Stomach Ulcer
A stomach ulcer, also called a gastric ulcer, is an open sore that develops in your stomach lining. You can also get one in your duodenum, the first part of the small intestine that your stomach feeds into. Duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers are both types of peptic ulcers. Theyre named for pepsin, one of the digestive juices that are found in the stomach and that sometimes leak into the duodenum. These juices are a contributing factor in peptic ulcer disease.
Peptic ulcers occur when the protective mucous lining in your stomach and duodenum has been eroded, allowing gastric acids and digestive enzymes to eat away at your stomach and duodenal walls. This eventually results in open sores that are continually irritated by the acid. If left untreated, they can begin to cause serious complications, such as internal bleeding. Over time, they can even wear a hole all the way through. This is a medical emergency.
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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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.
Cure : Foods For Stomach Ulcers
Foods for Ulcer, Weird isnt it? Yes, foods could actually prevent/cure Stomach Ulcer. One could say the primary culprit in the case of stomach ulcers could be narrowed down to food and food habits. Eating certain foods such as foods that contain nitrates could fuel your infection. However, eating certain foods could also help you prevent and even cure your stomach ulcer.
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What Is Esophageal Ulcer
Esophagus, commonly known as the food pipe is the organ through which the food passes from the pharynx to the stomach. The walls of the esophagus mucosa which secrete mucus help in the smooth flow of food through the pipe. These walls might get irritated or eroded by the series of acid secreted by the stomach walls. There are circumstances when the stomach acid may enter into the lower part of the esophagus, thus damaging the walls there. Rapid forceful contraction of the stomach walls can also pull back the acidic stomach contents to the esophagus. This might result in the formation of an esophageal ulcer. As the condition of inflammation progresses, this can result into fibrosis and stricture formation. This subsequently narrows down the walls of esophagus which makes the movement of food through the esophagus very difficult. Based on the causative factor of the esophageal tissue damage and esophagitis , it might lead to esophageal cancer if the condition worsens.