Take Your Ulcer Medications Properly
The goodnews, most cases of ulcers can be cured without theneed for surgery since there are now some effective non-surgical medicationsavailable.
And its important to take the medications properly otherwise the disease may fail to heal and cause serious complications such as internal bleeding, digestive tract obstruction, and perforation .
What Causes Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are typically caused by two different things:
Gastric ulcers can also be caused by a combination of the two.
Contrary to what popular culture tells us, gastric ulcers are not caused by spicy foods or stress. Certain types of foods, such as those high in fat and alcohol, can aggravate stomach ulcers. But foods do not cause the ulcers to form.
What Is An Ulcer
Ulcers are open sores on the inner lining of the lower esophagus, stomach, or the upper portion of the small intestine. They are often painful, particularly after eating, and can bleed into the stomach or intestines.
Ulcers are identified by the location of the sore:
- Esophageal ulcers occur on the lower part of the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach.
- Gastric ulcers form in the stomach lining.
- Duodenal ulcers form in the lining of the small intestine near the stomach called the duodenum.
Esophageal, gastric, and duodenal ulcers are collectively called peptic ulcers or peptic ulcer disease . They are closely related both in causes and treatments. Compared to gastric and duodenal ulcers, esophageal ulcers may arise from different causes and require different treatments in some cases.
Peptic ulcers are due to an erosion of the defenses the stomach or intestinal tissues use to protect themselves against harmful stomach acid. When these defenses are compromised, the acid can eat away at the lining of the stomach or duodenum, causing sores.
Lifestyle factors, such as eating spicy foods or stress, are no longer considered risk factors for developing peptic or esophageal ulcers, but they may worsen ulcer symptoms.
Peptic ulcer disease is very common. Anywhere from 5% to 10% of the population will develop a peptic ulcer at some time during their lives. About 2% to 7% will experience an esophageal ulcer in their lifetime, mostly due to GERD.
Read The Package Insert
Admit it: When you buy a bottle of over-the-counter pain reliever, you likely throw out the printed insert along with the empty box. But you really should get in the habit of reading it. Find out what side effects you should look for. Look at the list of possible drug interactions or ask your pharmacist or doctor to go over it with you.
What Are The Complications Of Peptic Ulcers
Ulcers can cause serious problems if you dont get treatment.
The most common problems include:
- Bleeding. As an ulcer wears away the muscles of the stomach or duodenal wall, blood vessels may be hurt. This causes bleeding.
- Hole . Sometimes an ulcer makes a hole in the wall of your stomach or duodenum. When this happens, bacteria and partly digested food can get in. This causes infection and redness or swelling .
- Narrowing and blockage . Ulcers that are found where the duodenum joins the stomach can cause swelling and scarring. This can narrow or even block the opening to the duodenum. Food cant leave your stomach and go into your small intestine. This causes vomiting. You cant eat properly.
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How Do Doctors Treat An Nsaid
If NSAIDs are causing your peptic ulcer and you dont have an H. pylori infection, your doctor may tell you to
- stop taking the NSAID
- reduce how much of the NSAID you take
- switch to another medicine that wont cause a peptic ulcer
Your doctor may also prescribe medicines to reduce stomach acid and coat and protect your peptic ulcer. Proton pump inhibitors , histamine receptor blockers, and protectants can help relieve pain and help your ulcer heal.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have stomach ulcers, you may want to ask your doctor:
- What pain reliever can I use instead of an NSAID?
- How will I know if the H. pylori infection is gone?
- How do we find out if the ulcer has healed?
- What can I do relieve symptoms at home during treatment?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Contrary to commonly held beliefs, ulcers arent caused by stress or foods you eat. Most of time, bacteria causes them. Doctors can treat the bacteria with antibiotics and other medications.
If youve been popping a lot of antacids lately, youre constantly snacking to get rid of a gnawing pain in your stomach or you have any other signs of an ulcer, the best thing you can do for your health is talk to your provider. Treatment can heal an ulcer in a matter of weeks.
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How Is A Stomach Ulcer Diagnosed
To help diagnose a stomach ulcer, your doctor will ask you what medications you take or have been taking, and if you have had a peptic ulcer or any other relevant condition in the past. Make sure you mention all the medications you are taking, especially NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, or ketorolac.
Your doctor will also conduct a physical examination, to check for bloating or lumps within your abdomen, and to listen for bowel sounds. Make sure you mention any areas of pain or tenderness.
Blood may also be taken to test for infection or anemia and testing may also be conducted for Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria commonly associated with stomach ulcers. Testing usually involves either a breath test, stool sample, or biopsy. To get a clear picture of the inside of your stomach and small intestines, doctors may use an endoscope , a series of X-rays and/or a CT scan.
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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Other Causes And Factors
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.
What Can I Take To Relieve Ulcer Pain
What not to eat when you have ulcers in the stomach?
Although spicy foods are an irritant for some people with ulcers, medical professionals now place more emphasis on a high fibre diet rich in vegetables and fruits.
- Dietary Fibre & Vitamin A.
- Green Tea and Flavonoid-Rich Foods.
- Coffee and Alcohol.
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Is It Possible To Prevent Venous Ulcers
The first step in preventing venous ulcers is preventing vein problems. Healthy habits are essential to help maintain proper blood flow in the legs. There are various ways to help prevent venous ulcers through lifestyle changes, diet, and medication. The Lakeland vein clinic pain management doctors recommend:
- Quit smoking. Smoking is bad for blood vessels and contributes to blood clotting in the veins.
- Lose weight if youre overweight or obese.
- Maintain an ideal weight.
- Exercise as much as possible. Moving and staying active helps with blood flow. Check with your doctor about starting a walking program.
- Eat healthy foods and get plenty of sleep at night.
- Reduce the amount of salt in your diet.
- Control your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels by making dietary changes and taking the medications your doctor prescribes.
- If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar level under control to help you heal faster.
- Manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Talk to your doctor about taking aspirin to prevent blood clots.
- Avoid crossing legs while sitting.
- Avoid extreme temperatures.
- Avoid sitting or standing for extended periods of time.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing and ensure that footwear is fitted correctly to avoid points of rubbing or pressure.
- Examine feet and legs daily for any unusual changes in color or the development of sores.
- Protect legs and feet from injury and infection.
- Raise your legs for a short time, especially if you stand for extended periods.
Tip Sheet: Ulcers And Pain Relievers
Be cautious about taking over-the-counter pain relief drugs if you have an ulcer. Some can worsen your symptoms. These tips will help.
If you have an ulcer, you need to be very careful with over-the-counter pain medicines. Remember: No drug is risk-free. It is very important to discuss the use of over-the-counter drugs with your doctor, especially if you have an ulcer or other medical conditions. Here are some tips from the experts for using these medicines safely.
- Avoid Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs . If you have an ulcer, use of NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen could be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. A non-NSAID pain reliever, like acetaminophen, may be a safer choice. Your doctor can recommend appropriate alternatives.
- Take precautions. If you need to use an NSAID, always take it with milk or food to make it easier on your stomach. To prevent problems, your doctor might recommend:
- A prescription proton pump inhibitor
- High doses of prescription H2 receptor antagonists
- Cytotec, a drug to protect your stomach lining
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Pain Management For Venous Ulcers
Venous ulcers are open skin sores that can affect any area of the body but most often occur on the legs. It is estimated that about 1% of Americans have venous ulcers. Theyre more common in older people, particularly women, and more likely to occur with people who have varicose veins. Other types of people who have an increased chance of getting a venous ulcer include:
- Those who have suffered previous leg injuries.
- Those who smoke.
- Those who are overweight or obese.
- Anyone with a circulation problem, such as blood clots or phlebitis .
Venous ulcers are sometimes called venous insufficiency ulcers, stasis leg ulcers, and venous leg ulcers.
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How To Ease Your Stomach Woes And Get Ulcer Pain Relief
Learn more about ulcers and how they contribute to stomach pain. Are you looking for quick ulcer pain relief?
People with ulcers know the struggle of living with chronic stomach pain. Its an uphill battle that can leave you feeling sick if you dont eat and sick if you do. Theres also the nighttime discomfort that can wake you up and disrupt your sleep routine, making matters worse. The good news is there are things you can do to find long-term ulcer pain relief.
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How Can I Tell If I Have A Peptic Ulcer
You may feel bloated or full. Pain may start soon after you eat. Three to four hours after eating a meal, you may get pain or an empty feeling in your stomach that gets better after you eat again or take an over-the-counter antacid .
Other signs include belching, feeling sick or dizzy, vomiting, heartburn, and a bad taste in your throat. Some people have black stools from bleeding in the stomach or intestine.
Your doctor may give you a blood or stool test to see if you have anemia or HP infection. You may need an x-ray or an endoscopy .
What Are The Symptoms Of A Stomach Ulcer
Symptoms vary from person to person, and some people may have no symptoms at all. Abdominal pain is common, and that associated with stomach ulcers tends to worsen after food. Other common symptoms include:
- Bloating or belching
- Weight loss.
Symptoms such as vomiting, severe pain or blood in the stools are rare with stomach ulcers and should be reported to your doctor.
Most ulcers occur in the first layer of the inner lining. A hole that goes all the way through is called a perforation and will cause severe pain and bleeding. It is a medical emergency.
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Is There A Peptic Ulcer Diet Plan
No particular diet is helpful for people with peptic ulcers. At one time, a bland diet and avoidance of spicy or greasy foods was recommended. Milk and dairy food have been used in the past for ulcer symptoms, but have not been proven to be effective. We now know diet has little effect on ulcers. In some people, however, certain foods seem to aggravate stomach ulcer symptoms. Keep a food diary with your intake and the resulting symptoms and avoid eating any foods that aggravate symptoms.
Otc Medication For Stomach Ulcers
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Gastritis Or Ulcer No Antibiotic Treatment
Gastritis is irritation and inflammation of the stomach lining. This means the lining is red and swollen. It can cause shallow sores in the stomach lining called erosions. An ulcer is a deeper open sore in the lining of the stomach. It may also occur in the first part of the small intestine . The causes and symptoms of gastritis and ulcers are very similar.
Causes and risk factors for both problems can include:
Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin and ibuprofen
H. pylori bacteria infection
Certain other conditions such as immune disorders, certain medicines and street drugs
Symptoms for both problems can include:
Dull or burning pain in the upper part of the belly
Loss of appetite
Nausea with or without vomiting
You likely had an evaluation to help find the exact cause and extent of your problem. This may have included a health history, exam, and certain tests.
Results showed that your problem is not due to H. pylori infection. For this reason, you don’t need antibiotics as part of your treatment.
Whether your problem is gastritis or an ulcer, you will still need to take other medicines, however. You will also need to follow instructions to help reduce stomach irritation so your stomach can heal.
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Will Surgery Cure A Peptic Ulcer
Medical therapy works in most people with peptic ulcers. Sometimes, medical therapy does not work, or a person can’t take the therapy for some reason. Surgery is an alternative to medical therapy for these people.
Surgical operations often used in peptic ulcers include the following:
- Vagotomy: Cutting the vagus nerve, which transmits messages from the brain to the stomach, can reduce acid secretion. However, this can also interfere with other functions of the stomach. A newer operation cuts only the part of the nerve that affects acid secretion.
- Antrectomy: This is often done in conjunction with a vagotomy. It involves removing the lower part of the stomach . This part of the stomach produces a hormone that increases production of stomach acid. Adjacent parts of the stomach may also be removed.
- Pyloroplasty: This procedure also is sometimes done with vagotomy. It enlarges the opening between the stomach and duodenum to encourage passage of partially digested food. Once the food has passed, acid production normally stops.
- Tying off an artery: If bleeding is a problem, cutting off the blood supply to the ulcer can stop the bleeding.