Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers
A number of symptoms are associated with stomach ulcers. The severity of the symptoms depends on the severity of the ulcer.
The most common symptom is a burning sensation or pain in the middle of your abdomen between your chest and belly button. Typically, the pain will be more intense when your stomach is empty, and it can last for a few minutes to several hours.
Other common signs and symptoms of ulcers include:
- dull pain in the stomach
- heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the chest)
- pain that may improve when you eat, drink, or take antacids
- anemia, whose symptoms can include tiredness, shortness of breath, or paler skin
- dark, tarry stools
- vomit thats bloody or looks like coffee grounds
Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms of a stomach ulcer. Even though discomfort may be mild, ulcers can worsen if they arent treated. Bleeding ulcers can become life-threatening.
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.
History Of Ulcer Causes
Ulcers have a unique and interesting history when it comes to their suspected causes. For decades, stomach ulcers were considered to be psychosomatic, meaning a high-stress lifestyle was to blame. At the time doctors started identifying high rates of ulcers in hard-working businessmen who smoked a lot of cigarettes and were likely sleep-deprived, and then animal studies further confirmed stress-triggered ulcers. Rats producing high amounts of stomach acid experienced a decrease in stomach ulcer symptoms when researchers fed them antacids, so a connection was then drawn between ulcers, chronic stress and an increase in stomach acid, which changed ulcer treatment approaches forever.
A bacterium called Helicobacter pylori was then discovered that seemed to be present in nearly everyone suffering from ulcers. It was also found to run in families and was connected to other digestive disorders, including stomach cancer. In patients given medications/antibiotics to kill H. pylori, ulcers were often resolved at least for a period of time.
However, today its more common to treat ulcers using less risky acid-reducing drugs in combination with lifestyle and dietary changes, rather than prescribing antibiotics to kill H. pylori, which can come with complications and lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics used to combat H. pylori can work short term to lower the bacteria, but dont seem to keep it from returning without other interventions.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Any Complications
Stomach ulcers can cause various complications but these are much less common now because of more effective treatments. However, complications can be very serious and include:
Bleeding from the ulcer
- This can range from a ‘trickle’ to a life-threatening bleed.
- If there is sudden heavy bleeding then this will cause you to vomit blood and make you feel very faint.
- Less sudden bleeding may cause you to vomit and the vomit looks coffee-coloured because the stomach acid has partly broken down the blood.
- A more gradual trickle of blood will pass through your gut and cause your stools to look very dark in colour or even black .
PerforationThis is the term used to describe the ulcer having gone all the way through the wall of the stomach. Food and acid in the stomach then leak out of the stomach. This usually causes severe pain and makes you very unwell. Stomach perforation is a medical emergency and needs hospital treatment as soon as possible.
Stomach blockageThis is now rare. An ulcer at the end of the stomach can cause the outlet of the stomach to narrow and cause an obstruction. This can cause frequent severe vomiting.
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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.
Stomach Ulcer Burning Pain What Does It Feel Like
Theopen sore can cause a number of signs and symptoms. And the severity of theulcer is usually equivalent with the severity of the symptoms.
Amongstomach ulcer symptoms, burning sensation or pain is the most common one.Typically, it is felt in the middle or upper part of abdomen specificallybetween the belly button and breastbone , where your stomach is locatedin the body.
Thepain usually feels like burning, gnawing, or dull sensation. In a few cases italso could be stabbing or intense, depending on the severity of the open sore. Sometimesit could be strong enough to radiate elsewhere in the body, such as the back.
Sothis may vary from person to person, including for duration. It may last in afew minutes or longer . Also, it could be chronic come & go in days, weeks, or even a few months.
But one unique thing to remember, in general the pain is more likely to flare up with empty stomach.
Often,it gets worse between meals such as in the morning or at night though againthis varies by individual. People usually have a spike in stomach acid whentheir stomach is empty. And high level of this acid can worsen the symptoms andmake the open sore take longer to heal.
Onthe other hand, the pain is likely to relieve for a while when you takeantacids or if you eat foods that can buffer yourstomach acid . But not all foods are good tohelp deal with since certain foods would also exacerbate the pain and otherstomach ulcer symptoms.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Bleeding Ulcer
Bleeding ulcers dont always cause pain. Sometimes the first signs of a bleeding ulcer are signs of anemia. These include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
You might have a heavier bleed if you notice:
- Blood in your poop, or black poop that resembles tar.
These symptoms require urgent medical attention.
Does Mouth Ulcer Medication Have Side Effects
Just like any other medication, mouth ulcer medications have side effects.
Common side effects may include:
Although it is uncommon, canker sore medications can also induce life-threatening allergic reactions.
Trouble breathing, hives, and swelling of the face or neck are all symptoms of allergic responses associated with these medications.
If you think you have an allergic reaction to your canker sore medication, you should immediately seek medical attention.
This is not an exhaustive list of side effects. The best way to learn more about the potential side effects of canker sore medications is to speak with your oral healthcare professional.
Here are some home remedies to help heal canker sores fast:4
- Rinse your mouth with a mixture of salt, baking soda, and water
- Apply milk of magnesia on the sore5
- Place ice on the sores
- Apply some damp tea bags on the sores
- Use natural remedies such as myrrh, chamomile tea, or echinacea
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What Is A Stomach Ulcer
A stomach ulcer is considered to be a wound that is present inside the walls of the stomach. Ulcers are known to be open wounds, and they are said to mostly develop in and lead to damage of the inside lining of the stomach. They are mostly sore and can cause a lot of pain. Stomach ulcers are usually found in the small intestine or in the lining of the stomach, as mentioned earlier. These ulcers are a possible sign of a medical condition known as peptic ulcer. Such ulcers tend to develop when hydrochloric acid makes its way through the mucus defenses and digests the stomach lining. This leads to an open wound. Since the stomach is said to be always in motion due to the fact that it grinds food, the wound thus always remains open, and this causes intense pain in the stomach.
Stomach ulcers are known to occur when the thick layer of mucus that protects the stomach from any digestive juices is reduced, which in turn enables the digestive acid to eat away at the lining tissues of the stomach. Stomach ulcers cause burning pain in the stomach, relieved by eating food. The food present in the stomach is known to partially dissolve the acid, but the discomfort will often start again when the stomach becomes empty. The presence of stomach ulcers can also lead to a feeling of being bloated, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and intolerance to certain fatty foods.
Other Causes And Factors
Other causes are rare. For example, some viral infections can cause a stomach ulcer. Crohns 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.
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Key Points About Stomach And Duodenal Ulcers In Children
Stomach and duodenal ulcers are open sores. They happen in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum.
Most ulcers are caused by an infection with Helicobacter pylori.
Treatment often includes antibiotics and medicines to block stomach acid production.
Without proper treatment, people with ulcers may have serious complications. But most people are cured with treatment.
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 stomachs 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.
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What Causes Stomach Ulcers
The two most common causes are:
- H. pylori infection. This common bacterial infection affects up to half of people worldwide. It primarily lives in the stomach. In many people, it doesnt seem to cause problems. Their gut immune systems keep it in check. But a portion of those infected have H. pylori overgrowth. The bacteria continue to multiply, eating into the stomach lining and causing chronic inflammation and peptic ulcer disease. H. pylori infection is associated with about 60% of duodenal ulcers and 40% of gastric ulcers.
- Overuse of NSAIDs. NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.” These include common over-the-counter pain relief medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. NSAIDs contribute to ulcers in several ways. They irritate the stomach lining on contact and repress some of the chemicals that defend and repair the mucous lining. Up to 30% of people who take NSAIDs regularly develop peptic ulcers. Up to 50% of all peptic ulcers are caused by the overuse of NSAIDs.
Less common causes of stomach ulcers include:
- Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. This is a rare condition that causes your stomach to produce too much gastric acid.
- Severe physiological stress. Severe illness, burns or injuries can produce stress ulcers in the stomach. Physiological stress changes your bodys PH balance, increasing stomach acid. Stress ulcers develop very quickly in response to stress, unlike normal stomach ulcers that develop gradually.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Peptic Ulcer
A dull or burning pain in your stomach is the most common symptom of a peptic ulcer. You may feel the pain anywhere between your belly button and breastbone. The pain most often
- happens when your stomach is emptysuch as between meals or during the night
- stops briefly if you eat or if you take antacids
- lasts for minutes to hours
- comes and goes for several days, weeks, or months
Less common symptoms may include
- feeling sick to your stomach
Even if your symptoms are mild, you may have a peptic ulcer. You should see your doctor to talk about your symptoms. Without treatment, your peptic ulcer can get worse.
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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?
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 .
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