How Can I Prevent A Stomach Ulcer From Occurring Or Returning
- Reduce NSAID use, if possible. Consider whether acetaminophen might substitute. If you take NSAIDs for medical reasons, talk to your doctor about reducing your dosage or switching your medication. Your doctor may also prescribe another medicine to take with NSAIDs to protect your stomach lining.
- Reduce other irritants that may contribute to too much stomach acid or erode your stomach lining, including smoking and alcohol use.
- Take an H. pylori breath test to find out if you have an overgrowth of the bacteria.
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.
Vomiting Undigested Food With Traces Of Fresh Blood
A feeling of sickness with an urge or inclination to vomit may accompany the onset of bleeding stomach ulcers. This may happen in a repeated series of events from one time to another. If a person is affected to the point of displaying vomiting episodes, the vomitus is characterized as undigested food with traces of fresh blood.
The fresh blood content of the vomitus is usually bright red in color. This is a serious symptom that may indicate a person is experiencing a bleeding ulcer. A vomitus with bright red traces of fresh blood specifies that the ulcer is currently bleeding at the moment or has just started bleeding.
- Pavel Petrik, SaulÄ BraÅ¡iÅ¡kienÄ, & EglÄ Petrik . Characteristics and outcomes of gastroduodenal ulcer bleeding: a single-centre experience in Lithuania.
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How Are Leg Ulcers Diagnosed
- A physical examination is the most common way to diagnose it.
- A doppler machine can also be used to diagnose leg ulcers based on the blood supply to your legs.
- In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a vascular specialist if he is not able to confirm your condition.
Once you are diagnosed with leg ulcers, you tend to look for different options to treat the condition. And what could be better than being able to do so naturally? Listed below are some of the best home remedies that can help you in treating leg ulcers naturally.
What You Have To Do
How Often You Should Do This
Do this 2-3 times daily.
Why This Works
Aloe vera is a therapeutic herb that is widely used to treat various ailments. It is extremely effective in healing leg ulcers as it not only inhibits the growth of bacteria but also prevents further infection . It contains compounds like anthraquinones and certain hormones that are said to render wound healing properties to it .
What You Have To Do
How Often You Should Do This
Do this at least 2-3 times daily.
Why This Works
What You Have To Do
How Often You Should Do This
Prevention Of Peptic Ulcers
Using alternatives to NSAIDs, like acetaminophen, to relieve pain can help prevent peptic ulcers. If you need to use an NSAID, opt for the lowest dose and take it with a meal.
Peptic ulcers caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori are not usually preventable, but good hygiene such as washing your hands thoroughly before eating and after using the bathroom may help limit the spread.
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What Is A Bleeding Ulcer
The stomach is a mixing bowl, allowing food and digestive juices to combine and allow digestion to begin. But the stomach has a protective lining that prevents digestive enzymes from eating away at it. If this lining is damaged, inflammation and pain may occur. If the inflammation becomes worse, it can cause the lining of the stomach or the duodenum to bleed. The bleeding may not be noticeable, and the patient may not seek medical care.
Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the organs of the body. If there are too few red cells, symptoms may occur. Some of these symptoms are pretty non-specific, like
Smelly And Tarry Discharge
Another very important symptom that can give a hint that a person is suffering from a bleeding ulcer is the passing of a stinky smelling and tarry discharge from the rectum in the form of unusual dark stools. This can help identify signs of gastric ulcer currently in the course of bleeding which may have been actively bleeding for a significant period of time.
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How Do You Know If You Do Indeed Have An Ulcer
The most common symptom of a gastric ulcer is a gnawing or sharp pain midway between the breastbone and navelthe sensation of acid burning the area of the stomach where the ulcer is located. Confusing matters, ulcers can cause dyspepsia. However, if its an ulcer, youre more likely to experience pain at night and see black, bloody or tar-like stools.
If youre experiencing ulcer-like pain, see a doctor to test for H. pylori. If youre vomiting blood or having black stools, this could indicate an ulcer is bleeding, which is considered a life-threatening emergency and requires an immediate trip to a hospital. At the ER, a doctor will scope your stomach and cauterize the bleeding.
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What Natural Home Remedies Help Peptic Ulcer Pain
Home care for peptic ulcers often centers on neutralizing the stomach acid.
- Don’t smoke, and avoid coffee and alcohol. These habits increase gastric acid production and weaken the mucosal barrier of the GI tract promoting ulcer formation and slowing ulcer healing.
- Don’t take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Acetaminophen is a good substitute for some conditions. If acetaminophen doesn’t help, talk to your health-care professional about alternatives.
- If your symptoms are mild, try an over-the-counter antacid or nonprescription histamine blocker to neutralize stomach acid. Usually stronger prescription medications are needed.
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What Are Peptic Ulcers
Peptic ulcers are open, painful sores that affect the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine, called the duodenum . Ulcers in the stomach are also called stomach ulcers or gastric ulcers. Those in the duodenum are also called duodenal ulcers. Peptic ulcers are rare in kids.
In the past, peptic ulcers could last for several years or even a lifetime. But a better understanding of what causes them and how to treat them means that most can be cured.
How Can I Be Sure Its An Ulcer
The only way to be sure an ulcer is causing your discomfort is with a medical diagnosis. We will evaluate your medical history and conduct a thorough physical examination.
To determine the root cause of your ulcer, we may run blood, stool, or breath tests. These tests are designed to look for signs of helicobacter pylori, the bacteria linked to ulcers.
Depending on your unique symptoms, we may also order an endoscopy. During an endoscopy, we insert a tube with a tiny camera down your throat and into your stomach to take pictures of any potential damage and collect tissue samples for analysis.
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What Causes Peptic Ulcers
Bacteria called Helicobacter pylori cause most peptic ulcers. Using common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen, also can cause a peptic ulcer. The ulcers form when the bacteria or the medicine weakens the mucus that coats the stomach and duodenum. This lets acid get through to the sensitive lining beneath. Both the acid and the bacteria can irritate the lining and cause an ulcer.
Some medical conditions also can play a role in ulcers. For example, illnesses that make it hard for the body to heal increase a childs risk of ulcers. This is also true for infants who become septic . In otherwise healthy kids, peptic ulcers are very unusual.
What Is The Treatment For Ulcers
If you have ulcer symptoms, see your doctor. Prompt treatment can prevent excessive bleeding and other complications.
Ulcers are usually diagnosed after an upper GI endoscopy . An endoscope is a long flexible tube with a light and camera on the end. The tube is inserted into your throat, then to the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine. Learn how to prepare for an endoscopy here.
Generally performed as an outpatient procedure, it allows the doctor to locate and identify problems in the stomach and upper intestine.
Bleeding ulcers must be addressed quickly, and treatment can start during the initial endoscopy. If bleeding from ulcers is found during the endoscopy, the doctor can:
- inject medication directly
- cauterize the ulcer to stop the bleeding
- clamp off the bleeding vessel
If you have an ulcer, youll be tested for H. pylori. This can be done using a tissue sample taken during the endoscopy. It can also be accomplished with noninvasive tests such as a stool sample or breath test.
If you have the infection, antibiotics and other drugs can help fight the bacteria and ease symptoms. To be certain you get rid of it, you must finish taking the medication as directed, even if your symptoms stop.
If your ulcers are the result of taking too many NSAIDs, work with your doctor to find another medication to treat pain.
Over-the-counter antacids sometimes relieve symptoms. Ask your doctor if its okay to take antacids.
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When Ulcer Surgery Is Required
It’s a rare event these days, but an ulcer may require surgery to heal. Surgeons have a variety of procedures they can use, depending on the exact problem the ulcer has created.
A peptic ulcer is a small sore or lesion that forms in the stomach lining or that of the duodenum, the first part of your intestine. Most ulcers are due to an infection caused by a Helicobacter pylori infection and are treated with antibiotics, plus drugs that reduce the acid level in the stomach to help with healing.
Thanks to advances in ulcer treatment, surgery for ulcers is seldom necessary outside of an emergency situation.
Ulcer Treatment: Why Surgery Is Rare
Surgery used to be performed fairly routinely to take out the part of the stomach that makes acid, says Patrick I. Okolo, III, MD, MPH, chief of endoscopy at Johns Hopkins Hospital and assistant professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. However, proton pump inhibitors are so effective that we can achieve the same results with these medications alone and avoid surgery. Surgery is reserved only for people who are unable to take the drug, those the drug has not worked in, and those who have suffered a major complication. Examples are if the ulcer caused an obstruction in the stomach or duodenum that is preventing proper digestion or if it perforated, or went through, the stomach wall.
Ulcer Treatment: Why Surgery Is Needed
Diagnosis Of A Stomach Ulcer
Diagnosing a stomach ulcer is done using a range of methods, including:
- Endoscopy a thin flexible tube is threaded down the oesophagus into the stomach under light anaesthesia. The endoscope is fitted with a small camera so the physician can see if there is an ulcer.
- Barium meal a chalky liquid is drunk and an x-ray is performed, showing the stomach lining. These tests are less common nowadays, but may be useful where endoscopy is unavailable.
- Biopsy a small tissue sample is taken during an endoscopy and tested in a laboratory. This biopsy should always be done if a gastric ulcer is found.
- C14 breath test this checks for the presence of H. pylori. The bacteria convert urea into carbon dioxide. The test involves swallowing an amount of radioactive carbon and testing the air exhaled from the lungs. A non-radioactive test can be used for children and pregnant women.
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What Can You Tell Me About Mouth Ulcers In Kids
Kids can develop mouth ulcers just like adults. You can manage symptoms by giving your child over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Ice, popsicles or cold liquids may help soothe the area. If your child has a mouth ulcer that hasnt healed in two weeks, call your healthcare provider.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
While mouth ulcers usually arent dangerous, they can certainly be painful and inconvenient. Fortunately there are several mouth ulcer treatments and remedies that can ease your symptoms until your lesions heal.
How Are Peptic Ulcers Treated
Most H. pylori-related ulcers can be cured. Treatment involves taking two kinds of antibiotics for 2 weeks and an acid suppressor for 2 months or longer. The ulcer may take 8 weeks to heal, but the pain usually goes away after a few days or a week.
A child with an H. pylori-related ulcer should take all the antibiotics as directed by the doctor. Even if the symptoms stop, the infection may not be gone until your child takes all the medicine. Also, be sure to give your child the prescribed acid-reducing medicine.
To be sure the treatment worked, doctors may order a stool test to see if the H. pylori bacteria are gone. If symptoms last or get worse, doctors might do a follow-up endoscopy in 6 to 12 months to check for H. pylori.
Ulcers from NSAID use rarely need surgery and usually get better with an acid suppressor and stopping or changing the NSAID. Because bacteria are not involved, antibiotics cant treat this type of ulcer. Kids who get a medicine-related ulcer should avoid NSAIDs and any medicines that contain ibuprofen or aspirin.
Unless a particular food is bothersome, most doctors don’t recommend diet changes for kids with ulcers. A good diet with a variety of foods is essential to all kids’ growth and development.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Stomach Ulcer
Symptoms include: a pain in the upper abdomen, which may get worse after eating or when the stomach is empty If a peptic ulcer begins bleeding, a person may notice: A person with any of these symptoms should seek emergency medical care. A severely bleeding ulcer can cause rapid loss of blood and possibly death if left untreated.
Causes Of Stomach Ulcers
A stomach ulcer can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria is thought to be responsible for around 60 per cent of stomach ulcers and at least 90 per cent of duodenal ulcers.
- Certain medications which include aspirin or clopidogrel, taken regularly to help prevent heart attack or stroke, and drugs for arthritis. Anti-inflammatory medications are thought to cause around two fifths of stomach ulcers.
- Cancer stomach cancer can present as an ulcer, particularly in older people.
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How Common Are Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are very common in Western countries. In the United States, there are about 4 million cases per year. Some estimates say that 1 in 10 people will have one at some point in their lives. Thats because many of the causes that contribute to stomach ulcers are common in Western life. Fortunately, these causes are usually easy to trace and to reverse, giving ulcers a chance to heal and your stomach lining a chance to repair.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Mouth Ulcer
Mouth ulcers are easy to spot. They usually appear as sores on your lips, gums, tongue, inner cheeks or roof of the mouth. While red around the edges, mouth ulcers are typically white, yellow or gray in the center. You may only develop one ulcer, or there might be more. Other symptoms could include:
- Swelling around the ulcer.
- Increased soreness when brushing your teeth.
- Pain that worsens when eating spicy, salty or sour foods.
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What Treatments Are There For Ulcers
Your treatment will depend on the cause of your ulcer. For example, if our tests indicate that an infection caused by helicobacter pylori is what created your ulcer, well give you antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria.
Regardless of the cause, medications that help reduce the level of acid in your stomach can help the ulcer heal. And different lifestyle changes can accelerate healing as well, such as eliminating certain foods, abstaining from alcohol, and practicing stress management.
In severe cases, surgery may be required. Your provider at Prima Medicine will work with you to create a treatment plan for your situation.
If you have a stomach ulcer or want to see if you do, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.
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