How Stomach Ulcers Are Treated
Treatment 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 in their stomach.
Youll also need antibiotics if your ulcers were caused by a H. pylori infection.
Stomach ulcers can come back after treatment, although this is less likely to happen if the underlying cause is addressed.
What Triggers Stomach Ulcer Symptoms
Stomach ulcers are irritated by stomach acid. Some people notice this irritation more after they eat, and some people notice it more on an empty stomach. There are also certain irritants that seem to make ulcer symptoms worse and make them more difficult to heal. Smoking and alcohol are the biggest ones.
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How Are Duodenal Ulcers Treated
If your ulcer is caused by H pylori, the usual treatment is ‘triple therapy’. This involves taking 2 antibiotics and a medicine. The antibiotics kill the bacteria, while the medicine reduces the acid made by your stomach.
If you don’t have an H. pylori infection, and you have been using anti-inflammatory drugs, you will need to stop taking them . You will also need to start taking a drug to reduce the acid production in your stomach.
You can make some other changes to improve your symptoms, such as:
- taking antacids
What Is A Stomach Ulcer
Stomach ulcers are open, inflamed sores in the lining of the stomach. They are also known as gastric ulcers or peptic ulcers. Ulcers can also occur in the upper part of the small intestine these are known as duodenal ulcers.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience:
- a sudden, sharp or persistent pain in the belly
- bloody or black poo
- vomit that looks like coffee grounds with red blood in it
- being weak, light-headed, sweaty and clammy
When To Seek Medical Attention
Most peptic ulcers are not a medical emergency and can be treated on an outpatient basis. But if there has been a perforation, severe internal bleeding, or obstruction, you’ll need to seek immediate medical care.
If left untreated, intestinal perforation and internal bleeding can lead to shock, coma, multiple organ failure, and death.
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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.
Where Should I Keep My Medication
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C . Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
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How Are Esophageal Ulcers Caused
The main causes of esophageal ulcers are:
Exposure to stomach acid: This causes chronic inflammation and irritation of the esophagus, allowing ulcers to develop. Stomach acid exposure most often occurs in people with other gastrointestinal conditions. These can include hiatal hernias and GERD, or gastrointestinal reflux disease, more commonly referred to, as severe heartburn.
Caustic injury: Esophageal ulcers may be caused by ingesting a corrosive substance. This type of injury mostly affects children, but it can also occur in adults who experience psychosis, suicidal tendencies, or who are abusing alcohol.
Certain types of gastric surgery or foreign bodies can also cause esophageal ulcers.
Early intervention is key to preventing complications from esophageal ulcers.
In cases of acid reflux, treatment may include:
- Medication, such as antacids, H-2-receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors .
- Dietary and lifestyle changes, to aid digestion.
- Surgery, for severe cases. Types of surgeries include to tighten the LES valve near the top of the stomach or to insert a magnetic device to help the LES valve function.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach And Duodenal Ulcers In A Child
Ulcers dont always cause symptoms.
The most common symptom is a gnawing or burning pain in the stomach. This is often felt between the breastbone and the belly button . Your child may feel the pain more between meals and in the early morning. It may last from a few minutes to a few hours.
Less common ulcer symptoms include:
Tiredness and weakness
The symptoms of ulcers may look like other health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
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What Does A Stomach Ulcer Feels Like
Stomach ulcer pain usually begins in the upper middle part of the abdomen, above the belly button and below the breastbone. The pain may feel like burning or gnawing that may go through to the back. The onset of the pain may occur several hours after a meal when the stomach is empty. Patients have reported paint to be worse at night as opposed to the morning. Pain duration may vary from a few minutes to several hours. Pain may be relieved by foods, antacids or vomiting.
How Do You Treat An Ulcer
An untreated ulcer can lead to serious problems including the need for amputation. If you think you have an ulcer, see your doctor right away. The sooner you get treatment, the less likely you are to have another problem.
Your doctor will examine your skin and may take an X-ray to see if your ulcer has affected the nearest bone. In some cases, your doctor may use other tests to see if you have blood vessel disease.
Next, your doctor will treat your ulcer with a procedure called debridement. Here, the doctor removes unhealthy tissue from the wound to start the healing process. Your doctor may prescribe medications, such as antibiotics, that you swallow or rub on the sore.
Talk to your doctor about how to care for your ulcer at home. You might need to:
- Clean your ulcer daily with soap and water. Dont use hydrogen peroxide or soak your wound in a bath or whirlpool. This can discourage healing and increase your risk of infection.
- Keep your ulcer bandaged or covered with a wound dressing. Your doctor may recommend specific bandaging steps. Airing out a wound increases your odds of infection and slows healing.
- Apply medications such as saline, skin substitutes, and substances that make skin cells grow.
- Take better care of other health problems, such as diabetes or vascular disease.
- Keep pressure off your ulcer, especially if its on your foot.
You might need crutches, special footwear, a brace, or other devices to reduce pressure and irritation so your ulcer heals faster.
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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.
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What Are The Complications Of Duodenal Ulcers
If left untreated, your duodenal ulcers may get worse. This can cause other complications, such as:
- broken blood vessels
- obstructing food from leaving your stomach
- perforation in the duodenal wall
These complications require emergency treatment, and can cause sharp pain, bloody vomit, or bloody faeces .
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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.
When Should I Go To Er
Seek emergency care if you have:
- Severe pain that doesnt go away.
- Signs of blood in your poop or bloody vomit.
- Signs of severe blood loss, such as paleness and faintness.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Stomach ulcers are common and treatable, but they should be taken seriously. Even when they dont cause symptoms, they arent a good sign. A stomach ulcer means that your natural stomach acid is overwhelming your protective stomach lining. Thats a situation that can only get worse if it isnt managed. Lifestyle changes may help, but youll still need to treat the underlying cause. Its probably either NSAID use or a common bacterial infection. Your healthcare provider can help prescribe the right medicines for your condition.
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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.
Sensory And Autonomic Neuropathy
Distal symmetric polyneuropathy is perhaps the most common complication affecting the lower extremities of patients with diabetes mellitus. This complication occurs in up to 58 percent of patients with longstanding disease.19 Neuropathy, a major etiologic component of most diabetic ulcerations, is present in more than 82 percent of diabetic patients with foot wounds.4 This lack of protective sensation, combined with unaccommodated foot deformities, exposes patients to undue sudden or repetitive stress that leads to eventual ulcer formation with a risk of infection and possible amputation.20
In the diabetic foot, autonomic neuropathy has several common manifestations. First, denervation of dermal structures leads to decreased sweating. This causes dry skin and fissure formation, which predispose the skin to infection. In vascularly competent patients, this autosympathectomy may lead to increased blood flow, which has been implicated as one of the primary etiologic factors in the development of Charcots joint and severe foot deformity.2123
The nylon monofilament test is a simply performed office test to diagnose patients at risk for ulcer formation due to peripheral sensory neuropathy.24 The test is abnormal if the patient cannot sense the touch of the monofilament when it is pressed against the foot with just enough pressure to bend the filament25 . Physicians can obtain a monofilament kit at a small cost from the National Diabetes Information Clearing-house .
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How Is A Peptic Ulcer Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, whether you take NSAIDs and other drugs, and medical history. Theyâll also check you for bloating in the belly and pain. That may be enough to make a diagnosis.
The only way your doctor can tell for sure if you have an ulcer is to look. They may use a series of X-rays or a test called an endoscopy. This test allows them to pass a thin, bendy tube down your throat and into your stomach and small intestine. The tube has a camera at the end so they can check the lining for ulcers. They may also take a small piece of the lining to test for H. pylori. Blood, breath, and stool sample tests also can screen for the bacteria.
What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose A Peptic Ulcer
Endoscopy. An upper endoscopy exam is expedient because allows healthcare providers to see inside your digestive tract and also take a tissue sample to analyze in the lab. The test is done by passing a thin tube with a tiny camera attached down your throat and into your stomach and duodenum. Youll have medication to numb your throat and help you relax during the test. Your healthcare provider may use the endoscope to take a tissue sample to test for signs of mucous damage, anemia, H. pylori infection or malignancy. If they take a sample, you wont feel it.
Imaging tests. Imaging tests to look inside the stomach and small intestine include:
- Upper GI series. An upper GI X-ray exam examines the stomach and duodenum through X-rays. Its less invasive than an endoscopy. For the X-ray, youll swallow a chalky fluid called barium, which will coat your esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The barium helps your digestive organs show up better in black and white images.
- CT scan. Your healthcare provider might recommend a CT scan if they need to see your organs in more detail. A CT scan can show complications such as a perforation in the stomach or intestinal wall. For the test, youll lie on a table inside a scanner machine while X-rays are taken. You may drink or have an injection with contrast fluid to make your organs show up better in images.
Tests for H. pylori. Your healthcare provider might want to test you separately for H. pylori infection. Tests may include:
How Should I Use This Medication
Take this medication by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. This medication works best if you take it on an empty stomach, 1 hour before meals. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medication more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your care team’s advice.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
This Is How You’ll Feel When You Get A Flu Shot And Covid Shot Simultaneously
Considering how health experts are forecasting a high number of flu cases even as we are still battling COVID-19, many are advocating for eligible people to get the flu vaccine and the new COVID-19 booster shot at the same time. But what happens to your body if you get these two doses simultaneously?
While you may be concerned about more intense discomfort due to receiving both vaccines at once, most people who have gotten a flu shot and COVID-19 booster at the same time are reporting only mild to moderate side effects, according to the experts at Sharp Health News. Examples of these side effects include arm soreness resulting from the injection, fatigue, gastrointestinal discomfort, fever, muscle aches and headaches. However, health experts explain that these symptoms are common and are part of the immune system preparing to battle the viruses if needed.
Additionally, receiving both the flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster shot simultaneously does not reduce the potency of the vaccines, Tuhin Roy, physician and associate medical director at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center writes in an article for Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Roy adds that you may feel “crummy” for a few days after getting the shots, but they are definitely safe to get at the same time.
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