Wednesday, August 3, 2022

What Are The Symptoms Of Having A Stomach Ulcer

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How Are Ulcers Treated

Stomach Ulcers: Medical Minute with Dr. Richard Honaker

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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When Should You Call Your Doctor

If you have been diagnosed with a peptic ulcer, 911 or other emergency services immediately if you have:

  • Symptoms that could indicate a heart attack or shock.
  • Sudden severe, continuous belly pain or vomiting.
  • Frequent feelings of dizziness or light-headedness, especially when moving from lying down to a seated or standing position.
  • Blood in your vomit or something that looks like coffee grounds in your vomit.
  • Stools that are black or that look like tar, or stools that contain dark red or maroon blood.
  • Your symptoms continue or become worse after 10 to 14 days of treatment.
  • You begin to lose weight without trying.
  • You are vomiting.
  • You have new belly pain or belly pain that does not go away.

Signs You May Have A Stomach Ulcer

We have absolutely warned our patients about the dangers of untreated ulcers in the past. However, we consider this to be an extremely important matter and therefore, we will continue to try to educate the people of Los Angeles, as well as those elsewhere on the most common symptoms of stomach ulcers. If you know the signs, you can see your doctor sooner rather than later when things have gotten especially bad. Continue reading below to get familiar with what these symptoms are.

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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.

You Have Pain Specifically In Your Upper Abdomen

Why Take These 10 Stomach Ulcer Symptoms Seriously

One of the most common ulcer symptoms is a severe pain in the upper abdomen, according to Neil Sengupta, MD, a gastroenterology specialist at the University of Chicago. Ulcers can develop anywhere in the upper digestive track, but Dr. Sengupta says we often think about those occurring in the stomach or small intestine, where we feel pain. This pain usually occurs between the breastbone and belly button, and can bring on a burning, aching, or dull feeling. The sensation may begin as a light, mild pain but often progresses into something more serious as the ulcers develop.

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Your Appetite Went Mia

For many patients with ulcers, the condition can actually result in a loss of appetite. This drop in food intake, combined with occasional vomiting, may lead to unexpected weight loss. Some ulcer patients report eating their normal amount of food, yet still lose weight, so the ulcer itself may cause a drop on the scale, too.

Antacids And H2 Blockers

Antacids

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.

H2 blockers

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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How Is A Peptic Ulcer Treated

Some peptic ulcers heal on their own. But if you donât treat them, the ulcers tend to come back.

They can erode the blood vessel wall in your stomach or small intestine. The ulcers also can eat a hole through the lining and get infected. Or they can cause swelling, which may block food from moving from your stomach into your small intestine.

If H. pylori is the culprit, your doctor may prescribe a mix of antibiotics to kill it. If aspirin and other NSAIDs are behind the ulcer, you may need to cut down on them, stop taking them altogether, or switch to another pain reliever.

Your doctor may also give you antacids to fight stomach acid, or prescribe medicine to lessen the acid your body makes. Prescription drugs called cytoprotective agents can help protect the lining of the stomach or small intestine so the ulcer can heal.

Treating Helicobacter Pylori Infection

Are You Having Ulcer or Reflux Symptoms?

If your stomach ulcer’s caused by a Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection, you’ll be given:

  • a course of antibiotics
  • a medication called a proton pump inhibitor

This is also recommended if it’s thought your stomach ulcer’s caused by a combination of an H. pylori infection and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .

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When To See A Doctor For Ulcer Pain

There are several ailments that may have similar symptoms as ulcers. pain in the stomach is not sufficient to mean you are suffering from ulcer. Here is where you need to see your doctor for medical check-up for your general health condition.

Here are some signs that should make you see your doctor

Nausea and vomiting

Vomiting red or black blood

Weight loss

Risk Factors You Can Control

The following things can increase your chance of getting a peptic ulcer and may slow the healing of an ulcer you already have:

  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . These include aspirin, ibuprofen , and naproxen .
  • Smoking.
  • Drinking too much alcohol. This is more than 3 drinks a day for men and more than 2 drinks a day for women.

In the past, spicy foods, caffeine, and moderate amounts of alcohol were thought to increase ulcer risk. This is no longer believed to be true.

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Stress Ulcers Vs Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers, also called stomach ulcers, are open sores in the stomach, in the esophagus , or in the duodenum .

The primary difference between a stress ulcer and a peptic ulcer is what causes them. Unlike stress ulcers, which are caused by high levels of physical stress such as physical trauma or surgery, peptic ulcers are caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, among other possibilities. While stress can make peptic ulcers worse, stress is not the cause.

Causes of peptic ulcers include:

  • Helicobacter pylori , a bacterial infection
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for a long time
  • Tumors in the stomach that are not cancerous

How Are Stomach Ulcers Diagnosed

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Diagnosis and treatment will depend on your symptoms and the severity of your ulcer. To diagnose a stomach ulcer, your doctor will review your medical history along with your symptoms and any prescription or over-the-counter medications youre taking.

To rule out H. pylori infection, a blood, stool, or breath test may be ordered. With a breath test, youll be instructed to drink a clear liquid and breathe into a bag, which is then sealed. If H. pylori is present, the breath sample will contain higher-than-normal levels of carbon dioxide.

Other tests and procedures used to diagnose stomach ulcers include:

  • Barium swallow: You drink a thick white liquid that coats your upper gastrointestinal tract and helps your doctor see your stomach and small intestine on X-rays.
  • Endoscopy : A thin, lighted tube is inserted through your mouth and into the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. This test is used to look for ulcers, bleeding, and any tissue that looks abnormal.
  • Endoscopic biopsy: A piece of stomach tissue is removed so it can be analyzed in a lab.

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You Bleed When You Use The Bathroom

Blood coming from the gastrointestinal tract can signal a variety of underlying health issues, but Dr. Sengupta says when this bleeding is combined with upper abdominal pain, hes highly suspicious that its one of the signs of an ulcer. Many patients notice this blood either when vomiting, or when using the bathroom, as their stools may appear black. If you notice youre suffering from a bleeding GI tract, along with nausea and pain in the stomach or chest, Dr. Sengupta says doctors will often perform a blood test or an upper endoscopywhere they use a camera to look into the stomach itselfto check if an ulcer is the culprit. Blood in your stool can also be due to hemorrhoids or a symptom of colon cancer, so its a good idea to get checked out by your doctor.

What About Surgery

In the past, surgery was commonly needed to treat a stomach ulcer. This was before it was discovered that H. pylori infection was the cause of most stomach ulcers, and before modern acid-suppressing medicines became available. Surgery is now usually only needed if a complication of a stomach ulcer develops, such as severe bleeding or a hole .

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What Is An Ulcer

An ulcer is the result of an imbalance in digestive fluids. It occurs when the linings of the stomach or the small intestines become deeply eroded.

Ulcersrange from quite small to an inch or more in size.

Stomach ulcers are also known as gastric ulcers. Just as pepticulcers are any ulcers that affect both the stomach and small intestines.

The stomach produces a strong acid to help digest food and protect against microbes. To protect the tissues of the body from this acid, it also secretes a thick layer of mucus. If the mucus layer is worn away and stops functioning effectively, the acid can damage the stomach tissue causing an ulcer.

In some cases, the body produces too much stomach acid. As a result, the mucous lining becomes damaged or worn away. When this happens, the acid may damage the lining of the digestive tract and cause an ulcer sore.

Peptic ulcer remains a common problem in the United States. Around 10% of people will have peptic ulcer disease at some point in their life.

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Stomach Ulcer : Symptoms & Signs

What Triggers a Peptic Ulcer?

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Peptic ulcer disease is characterized by sores, or ulcerations, in the lining tissues of the stomach or the duodenum, the first portion of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers can be caused by a number of conditions, including certain medications, excessive alcohol use, and other medical conditions. The primary symptom of peptic ulcer is upper abdominal pain. The pain can be sharp or dull and is often described as burning. Some affected people have indigestion that may quickly resolve after taking antacids or eating foods that neutralize stomach acids. Other people with peptic ulcers may not have symptoms at all or may have only very mild symptoms. The severity of the ulcers is not related to the severity of the symptoms they cause mild ulcers may cause severe pain, while severe ulcers may only cause mild symptoms.

Loss of appetite and weight lossmay occur in people with peptic ulcer disease. In certain cases, the ulcers may bleed into the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in dark stool.

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Could I Have An Ulcer And Not Know It

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Around 25 million people will have a stomach ulcer in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite their prevalence, the symptoms of an ulcer can frequently be mistaken for other conditions, like heartburnand some people may not show any signs at all. Its also unlikely that stress or your diet is the culprit. If youre concerned that your stomach pain could be something more serious, read on to find out the causes, proper treatment and prevention methods for peptic ulcers.

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Youve Had Unexplained Vomiting

From time to time, the nausea brought on by ulcers may become so intense that it could actually cause you to vomit. Frequent vomiting is never a fun experience, but whatever you do, stay away from medications like ibuprofen and aspirin when treating the condition and other ulcer symptoms. According to Dr. Sengupta, these over-the-counter pain medications actually put you at a higher risk of developing ulcers, and can make your current ulcers worse.

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Do You Have A Stomach Ulcer

If you suspect that you have a stomach ulcer, it is beyond important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. As you can tell from the symptoms listed above, things can only get worse if your ulcer goes untreated. Call the experts at West Gastroenterology in Los Angeles today and make an appointment!

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Outpatient Treatment Options For Stomach Ulcers

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If your stomach ulcer was caused by an H. pylori infection, your doctor will use a combination of antibiotics and a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors to treat it. Antibiotics resolve the infection while PPIs inhibit the production of irritating stomach acid.

Its much less common for ulcers to develop without the presence of H. pylori, but it can happen when high doses of NSAIDs are used for long periods of time, for example, to treat chronic pain caused by arthritis or other inflammatory conditions. In those cases, you wont need antibiotics, though its quite likely you will be prescribed a PPI.

Some additional treatments your doctor may suggest for treating ulcers caused by H. pylori as well as those caused by long-term, high-dose NSAID use include:

  • H2 receptor blockers, another type of drug that blocks stomach acid production
  • Discontinuation of all NSAID pain relievers
  • Endoscopy, a nonsurgical procedure used to examine your intestines, to ensure the ulcer has healed
  • Probiotics, to assist with the eradication of H. pylori and rebalance your gut flora
  • Bismuth salts, which soothe inflammation and help eradicate harmful bacteria

Once you begin a course of treatment, your stomach ulcer symptoms should subside quickly. That doesnt mean you should discontinue treatment though! Be sure to finish the full course of all medications your doctor prescribed, especially antibiotics.

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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.

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What Are The Possible Complications Of Peptic Ulcer Disease

An ulcer left untreated may cause serious complications, including:

  • Internal bleeding: While most people with ulcers wont have bleeding, this is the most common complication that can occur. A slow bleeding ulcer can cause anemia or even severe blood loss.
  • Perforation: An ulcer that is continuously eroded by acid can eventually become a hole in the stomach or intestinal wall. This is intensely painful and also dangerous. It allows bacteria from the digestive tract to enter the abdominal cavity, which can lead to an infection of the abdominal cavity called peritonitis. From there, the infection is at risk of spreading to the rest of the body . This can lead to a life-threatening condition called .
  • Obstruction: An ulcer in the pyloric channel, the narrow passageway that leads from the stomach into the duodenum, can become an obstruction that blocks the flow of food into the small intestine. This can happen after the ulcer has healed. Ulcers that have gone through a healing process may build up scar tissue that enlarges them. An ulcer that is big enough to obstruct the small intestine can stall the digestive process, with numerous side effects.
  • Stomach cancer: Some gastric ulcers can become malignant over time. This is more likely when your ulcer is caused by H. pylori infection. H. pylori is a contributing cause of gastric cancer, though fortunately this is uncommon.

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