What Are The Potential Complications Of A Stomach Ulcer
You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of gastric ulcer include:
- Internal hemorrhaging , the most common complication. Bleeding usually stops spontaneously, but about 25% of cases require surgery, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
- Perforated gastric ulcer, which is when there is a hole in the stomach
- Severe discomfort or pain
Diagnosis And Tests For Stomach Ulcers
Your doctor will give you a physical exam and ask you about your symptoms. To help diagnose your ulcer, they may run some tests.
A common test that your doctor may use is an endoscopy. A small, thin tube with a camera attached is inserted down your throat and into your stomach. It allows your doctor to see and diagnose an ulcer. Your doctor can also take a sample of your stomach lining to test for H. pylori bacteria.
Your doctor may run tests of your blood, breath, or stool to check for H. pylori.
How Common Are Stomach Ulcers
It’s not known exactly how common stomach ulcers are. They have become much less common since the 1980s because of much more effective treatments. So people with stomach ulcers now usually get better much more quickly.
The term ‘peptic ulcer’ is used to describe ulcers that are caused by too much acid in the stomach. This includes stomach ulcers and also ulcers in the first part of the gut known as the duodenum. Stomach ulcers are less common than duodenal ulcers.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
You should visit your GP if you think you may have a stomach ulcer.
Seek urgent medical advice if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- vomiting blood the blood can appear bright red or have a dark brown, grainy appearance, similar to coffee grounds
- passing dark, sticky, tar-like stools
- a sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets steadily worse
These could be a sign of a serious complication, such as internal bleeding.
What Are Some Ulcer Symptoms
Some people with ulcers dont experience any symptoms. But signs of an ulcer can include:
- Gnawing or burning pain in your middle or upper stomach between meals or at night.
- Pain that temporarily disappears if you eat something or take an antacid.
In severe cases, symptoms can include:
- Dark or black stool .
- Severe pain in your mid- to upper abdomen.
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Can You Prevent A Peptic Ulcer
While stress and spicy foods can make symptoms of a peptic ulcer worse, they donât seem to make you more likely to have one. But a few other things can raise your chances.
Be careful when you take pain relievers. Some people who have arthritis or other conditions that cause chronic pain take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for weeks or months at a time to ease pain and swelling. These medicines can affect the mucus that protects your stomach against acid and make you more likely to have peptic ulcers.
These pain relievers include:
You’re more likely to get an ulcer while taking one of these if you:
- Are over age 65
- Are infected with H. pylori bacteria
- Take more than one NSAID at a time
- Have had a peptic ulcer in the past
- Also take a steroid drug or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
To lower your chances for peptic ulcers while you take NSAIDs:
- Use the lowest possible dose to control your symptoms, and stop taking them as soon as you no longer need them.
- Take your medicine with food.
- Don’t drink alcohol while youâre taking these medicines.
While you’re on NSAIDs, you can take medicine to lower the amount of acid your stomach makes. Drugs that can do that include:
You can do some things to make an infection less likely:
Why Dont All Doctors Automatically Check For H Pylori
Changing medical belief and practice takes time. For nearly 100 years, scientists and doctors thought that ulcers were caused by stress, spicy food, and alcohol. Treatment involved bed rest and a bland diet. Later, researchers added stomach acid to the list of causes and began treating ulcers with antacids.Since H. pylori was discovered in 1982, studies conducted around the world have shown that using antibiotics to destroy H. pylori cured peptic ulcers. The National Institutes of Health released a consensus statement in 1994 confirming that H. pylori causes peptic ulcers. Despite the evidence, however, the medical community continues to debate H. pyloris role in peptic ulcers. If you have a peptic ulcer and have not been tested for H. pylori infection, talk to your doctor.
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How Stomach Ulcers Are Treated
With treatment, most stomach ulcers will heal within a month or two. The treatment recommended for you will depend on what caused the ulcer.
Most people will be prescribed a medication called a proton pump inhibitor to reduce the amount of acid their stomach produces and allow the ulcer to heal naturally.
If an H. pylori infection is responsible for the ulcers, antibiotics will also be used to kill the bacteria, which should prevent the ulcer coming back.
If the ulcers are caused by the use of NSAIDs, PPIs are usually prescribed and your doctor will discuss whether you should keep using NSAIDs.
Alternative medication to NSAIDs, such as paracetamol, may be recommended.
Stomach ulcers can come back after treatment, although this is less likely to happen if the underlying cause is addressed.
Read more about treating stomach ulcers.
Causes Of Stomach Ulcer
Stomach ulcers can be caused by a number of conditions:
- H. pylori – The main cause of these ulcers is h. pylori bacteria, a group of bacteria that breaks down the stomach lining, causing inflammation. H. pylori bacteria can be transferred by coming into contact with vomit, sharing utensils or food with an infected part or drinking water that is contaminated.
- Certain medications – Overusing medications such as aspirin ibuprofen, and other anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs to prevent arthritis, stroke or heart attack. It’s said that taking NSAIDs can cause two-fifth stomach ulcers.
- Radiation treatments – Stomach ulcers are also a common side effect of radiation treatments affecting the abdomen. Suffering from serious illness that affects the intestinal tract can increase your risk of developing a stomach ulcer.
- Diseases – In rare cases a condition known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome can cause duodenal ulcers. A tumor in the pancreas which increases the level of hormones that produce stomach acid can also cause an increase in stomach ulcers. It is rumored that stress increases the risk of developing stomach ulcers, but this is unconfirmed.
- Lifestyle – Smoking, using chewing tobacco or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause ulcers to appear.
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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.
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.
Industry Influence On Research
In 2016 research into the archives of the, the for the in the US, had sponsored an influential published in 1965 in the that downplayed early findings about the role of a diet heavy in sugar in the development of CAD and emphasized the role of fat that review influenced decades of research funding and guidance on .
Research efforts are focused on new treatment modalities and various . A region on was confined to families with multiple cases of myocardial infarction. Other genome-wide studies have identified a firm risk variant on . However, these and other are found in intergenic segments and need further research in understanding how the is affected.
A more controversial link is that between infection and atherosclerosis. While this intracellular organism has been demonstrated in atherosclerotic plaques, evidence is inconclusive as to whether it can be considered a causative factor. Treatment with antibiotics in patients with proven atherosclerosis has not demonstrated a decreased risk of heart attacks or other coronary vascular diseases.
Since the 1990s the search for new treatment options for coronary artery disease patients, particularly for so called “no-option” coronary patients, focused on usage of and therapies. Numerous clinical trials were performed, either applying therapies, such as or , or cell therapies using different kinds of adult populations. Research is still going on â with first promising results particularly for and utilization of endothelial .
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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.
Pain Medications And Stomach Ulcers
While H. pylori is the main cause of most stomach ulcers, people who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen on a long-term basis are at a higher risk of developing the painful sores. Dr. Hsu says the continual use of these medications can damage the stomach wall, causing ulcers.
This isnt common in young people, but for those over the age of 60 who take these medications for pain relief or for osteoarthritis, prolonged use can cause stomach perforation and bleeding, he says.
Stomach ulcers can also be exacerbated by the use of cigarettes and alcohol, which further irritate the inflamed stomach lining. Tobacco slows the healing of ulcers and increases the likelihood of them coming back. Its a myth that antacids and milk can heal stomach ulcers, but they can provide some brief pain relief. Taking antacids as needed between meals and at bedtime can help ease discomfort.
Stress can also worsen ulcers as it can cause the body to produce larger amounts of acid, irritating an existing ulcer. Increased acid in the stomach makes it difficult for an ulcer to heal, just like picking at a scab on your skin or scratching a rash delays the healing process.
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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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Stomach Ulcer Diagnosis And Conventional Treatment
If you suspect you have a stomach ulcer, see your doctor to first rule out other causes of your pain. In order to diagnose a stomach ulcer, your doctor may perform an endoscopy, which allows the doctor to view the inside lining of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. Once a diagnosis is verified, treatment options can begin.
Your doctor will likely take your medical history and perform a physical exam along with a blood test, plus ask you about your past use of medications and possibly do an X-ray to locate a stomach ulcer. Testing the blood for H. pylori, plus doing a urea breath test and/or stool test to look for the presence of H. pylori antigens, are common ways to diagnose an ulcer.
The goal of stomach ulcer treatments is to help reduce pain and inflammation in the digestive tract, boost the immune system to fight H. pylori bacteria, prevent complications, and lower the chance for future ulcers from forming or returning.
Today, conventional treatment options for stomach ulcers include:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
Each persons symptoms may vary. In some cases ulcers dont cause any symptoms.
The most common ulcer symptom is a dull or burning pain in your belly between your breastbone and your belly button . This pain often occurs around meal times and may wake you up at night. It can last from a few minutes to a few hours.
Less common ulcer symptoms may include:
- Feeling full after eating a small amount of food
- Bloody or black stool
- Vomiting blood
Peptic ulcer symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
Symptoms And Possible Complications Of Stomach Ulcer
The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is stomach pain. The level and presence of pain will vary from patient to patient. This pain will predominantly appear in the upper abdomen and may wake you up at night. Sometimes this pain is mistaken as the symptom of a heart attack.
You may also experience mild nausea which is relieved by vomiting, a feeling of fullness, an inability to consume liquids at your usual rate, or a hungry feeling 1-3 hours after having consumed a meal that does not match your usual eating patterns. Other possible symptoms of a stomach ulcer include weight loss, bloody stool, and vomiting which may include blood and fatigue.
Stomach ulcers can lead to internal bleeding if they become too severe. The inflammation caused by the stomach ulcer can also lead to inflammation of the tissue lining of the abdomen, a condition known as peritonitis. Inflammation can also lead to a gastric outlet obstruction or perforation of the stomach intestines.
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How Are Peptic Ulcers Treated
Treatment will depend on the type of ulcer you have. Your healthcare provider will create a care plan for you based on what is causing your ulcer.
Treatment can include making lifestyle changes, taking medicines, or in some cases having surgery.
Lifestyle changes may include:
- Not eating certain foods. Avoid any foods that make your symptoms worse.
- Quitting smoking. Smoking can keep your ulcer from healing. It is also linked to ulcers coming back after treatment.
- Limiting alcohol and caffeine. They can make your symptoms worse.
- Not using NSAIDs . These include aspirin and ibuprofen.
Medicines to treat ulcers may include:
- Antibiotics. These bacteria-fighting medicines are used to kill the H. pylori bacteria. Often a mix of antibiotics and other medicines is used to cure the ulcer and get rid of the infection.
- H2-blockers . These reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes by blocking the hormone histamine. Histamine helps to make acid.
- Proton pump inhibitors or PPIs. These lower stomach acid levels and protect the lining of your stomach and duodenum.
- Mucosal protective agents. These medicines protect the stomach’s mucus lining from acid damage so that it can heal.
- Antacids. These quickly weaken or neutralize stomach acid to ease your symptoms.
In most cases, medicines can heal ulcers quickly. Once the H. pylori bacteria is removed, most ulcers do not come back.
What Causes A Stomach Ulcer
A stomach infection associated with Helicobacter pylori bacteria is the most common cause of stomach ulcers. The bacteria affect stomach acid and act on the stomachs lining, making it more vulnerable to acid and digestive fluids. With time, breaks occur in the lining, which can keep eroding and create a sore.
Alcohol, tobacco, and medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , can also lead to stomach ulcers. Severe illness and radiation therapy have also been associated with stomach ulcers.
Many people around the world have H. pylori, but not everyone gets peptic ulcer disease like stomach ulcers. This means other factors are involved, including environmental and genetic factors.
Possible Erectile Dysfunction Risk
A 2005 Finnish survey study found an association between long term use of NSAIDs and .
A 2011 publication in received widespread publicity. According to the study, men who used NSAIDs regularly were at significantly increased risk of erectile dysfunction. A link between NSAID use and erectile dysfunction still existed after controlling for several conditions. However, the study was observational and not controlled, with low original participation rate, potential participation bias, and other uncontrolled factors. The authors warned against drawing any conclusion regarding cause.
What Tests Diagnose A Peptic Ulcer
To confirm a person has an ulcer a diagnostic imaging test will usually be ordered. The two most widely used tests are:
- Upper GI series : This is a type of X-ray. The patient is given a chalky liquid to drink that increases the contrast on the X-ray, making certain features easier to see. Because this liquid contains barium, this test is sometimes called a barium swallow.
- Endoscopy : An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera at the end. The patient is given a mild sedative, and then the tube is passed through the mouth into the stomach. The doctor can see the lining of the stomach to diagnose a peptic ulcer. Tiny samples of the tissue will be taken , which are examined under a microscope.
If a diagnostic imaging test reveals an ulcer, the patient will most likely have a test to see if H pylori bacteria are present.
- It is important to be certain about this, because treatment of the H pylori is likely to heal the ulcer.
- Ulcers caused by H pylori are treated differently than ulcers caused by medications.
Three types of tests are available to detect H pylori.
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