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What Makes An Ulcer Worse

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Black Or Dark Colored Stool

Peptic Ulcer Disease Signs & Symptoms | Gastric vs. Duodenal Ulcers

If you think you may have an ulcer, a good way to tell is to look at your stool. If you notice that when you use the restroom your stool is extremely dark in color, or even black, chances are you are right about what is ailing you. If this is the case, you should absolutely go to the hospital immediately.

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Failure To Have A Gastroenterology Specialist On Your Side

Your primary care physician can only do so much for you. In order to adequately manage and treat your Crohns or ulcerative colitis, you will need to see a specialist for regularevaluation. In fact, you should have a whole team of doctors working for you, from surgeons to radiologists to nutritionists however, your gastroenterologist should be your main point of contact when it comes to your condition.

We treat patients with Crohns and ulcerative colitis as well as a variety of other gastrointestinal diseases, including colon cancer, hepatitis, biliary diseases, esophageal disorders, and peptic ulcer disease. Our specialists can offer you more tips on how to best manage your condition, and work with you one-on- one to develop a workable treatment plan.

Please note, the information provided throughout this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and video, on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. If you are experiencing related symptoms, please visit your doctor or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

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The main symptoms of ulcerative colitis are:

  • recurring diarrhoea, which may contain blood, mucus or pus
  • needing to empty your bowels frequently

You may also experience fatigue , loss of appetite and weight loss.

How Is An Ulcer Diagnosed

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. They may do an endoscopy. This procedure involves inserting a thin, flexible tube attached to a camera down your throat and into your stomach. Your doctor will test your blood, breath or stool for H. pylori. They also can test a sample of your stomach lining. Your doctor also will ask you if you regularly take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medicines.

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What Causes Peptic Ulcers

Ulcers form when digestive juices damage the walls of the stomach or small intestine. If the mucus layer gets too thin or your stomach makes too much acid, your gut will feel it. The two major causes are:

  • Bacteria. Itâs called Helicobacter pylori , and as many as half of us carry it. Most people infected with H. pylori do not get ulcers. But in others, it can raise the amount of acid, break down the protective mucus layer, and irritate the digestive tract. Experts arenât sure how H. pylori infection spreads. They think it may pass from person to person through close contact, like kissing. You may also get it from unclean food and water.
  • Certain pain relievers. If youâve been taking aspirin often and for a long time, youâre more likely to get a peptic ulcer. The same is true for other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . They include ibuprofen and naproxen. NSAIDs block your body from making a chemical that helps protect the inner walls of your stomach and small intestine from stomach acid. Other types of pain meds, such as acetaminophen, wonât lead to peptic ulcers.
  • Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol also can make you more likely to get ulcers. Stress and eating a lot of spicy food donât cause ulcers, as experts once thought. But they can make ulcers worse and harder to treat.

When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider

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See your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Vomiting blood or dark material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Extreme weakness or dizziness
  • Blood in your stools
  • Nausea or vomiting that doesnt get better, or gets worse
  • A sudden, severe pain that may spread to your back
  • Losing weight without even trying

Untreated peptic ulcers may cause other health problems. Sometimes they bleed. If they become too deep, they can break through your stomach.

Ulcers can also keep food from going through your stomach.

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What Kind Of Doctor Treats Peptic Ulcers

  • If you suspect you may have a peptic ulcer, you may first be diagnosed by your family practitioner or internist.
  • Children or teenagers may see a pediatrician.
  • For further treatment you will likely be referred to a gastroenterologist, a specialist in disorders of the digestive tract.
  • If you have an emergency such as vomiting or severe abdominal pain you will be seen by an emergency medicine specialist in an emergency room.
  • In the rare case where surgery is needed, you may see a general surgeon.

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Can An Ulcer Be Cured

Ulcers, commonly referred to as ââGastric ulcersââ or ââPeptic ulcersââ are open sores whose developmental sites are stomach and duodenum. The treatment of ulcers depend upon its cause and it usually gets healed in a month or two. Recommended treatment involves medication such as Antibiotics and Proton Pump inhibitors in case of bacterial infection or the same in combination with NSAIDS.

Alternative medications include H2-receptor antagonists, antacids etc. In addition, avoiding stress, alcohol, smoking, spicy foods etc. may help.

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More Tips For Managing A Stomach Ulcer

  • Eat slowly and completely chew your food.
  • Try not to skip meals. Otherwise, your stomach will go empty for long periods.
  • Eat smaller meals in a frequent manner. The stomach can tolerate small meals better than large meals.
  • Avoid eating right before bed. When possible, allow a couple of hours between sleep and your last meal.
  • Try herbal, mineral and vitamin supplements. Vitamins like B12 and C, along with omega-3 fatty acids can help your bodys gastrointestinal system heal itself. Herbs such as cranberry have been known to reduce inflammation in the stomach.
  • Sleep is when your bodies heals itself. By getting enough sleep, you allow your body time to repair any damage to your stomach and intestines, including ulcers.
  • Excess stress can make ulcer symptoms worse. Relieve stress with some relaxation techniques, such as tai chi, yoga and meditation.
  • Stop smoking and other unhealthy habits. Putting nasty chemicals and toxins into your body inhibits the recovery of ulcer and increases the risk of future infections.

Can Stomach Ulcers Just Go Away

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Some ulcers follow a chronic pattern of healing temporarily on their own and then returning. This might happen if the factors contributing to your ulcer, such as NSAID use, smoking and alcohol, are temporarily reduced and then resumed. You wont completely heal your ulcer until you eliminate the cause, whether that is chronic NSAID use, H. pylori infection or an overactive stomach. Even after successful treatment, you can get another ulcer.

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Foods To Eat With A Stomach Ulcer

Just like there are foods to avoid with an ulcer, there are also foods that can make the symptoms better. The specific foods that help will depend on the person, and some common beneficial foods are below.

1. Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Flavonoids in antioxidants are shown to reduce the growth of Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that can cause ulcers. In addition to ulcer alleviating advantages, antioxidants have other benefits, like cancer prevention. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries, cherries, squash, etc.

2. Foods Rich in Soluble High Fiber

A 1997 study showed that those consuming a generous soluble fiber diet had a much lower chance of getting an ulcer. In fact, the chance of getting an ulcer dropped 60%. Common foods that have plenty of soluble fiber include prunes, apples, oats, legumes, beans, and pears.

3. Probiotic Foods

Probiotics are good bacteria usually found in a persons digestive system. By eating probiotic foods, you can increase the amount of good bacteria and reduce the amount of bad bacteria, which is important to reduce irritation and improve ulcer healing. Besides yogurt, foods high in probiotics include kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and miso soup.

4. Foods Rich in Healthy Proteins and Fats

6. Foods Rich in Vitamin A

Avoidthese Foods With A Stomach Ulcer

To minimize your stomach ulcer discomfort, try consuming smaller meals, and eat more often throughout the day. Some patients have experienced ulcer symptom improvement after this eating pattern change. In addition, note these foods to avoid when you have a stomach ulcer , as they can make your ulcer symptoms worse.

First, limit your milk consumption, as large quantities of this beverage can lead to more stomach acid generation. If you banish dairy completely, ask your doctor about taking a calcium supplement. Stop drinking caffeine-based beverages, such as coffee, hot cocoa, tea and caffeinated sodas.

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Beyond Diet: How To Help A Peptic Ulcer

In the past, people with peptic ulcers were often sent home to care for themselves until the sore healed itself. Today, the eradication of H. pylori is the central concern in the majority of cases. It is only by eliminating the bacteria that recurrence can be fully prevented.

While other things can cause peptic ulcers, such as the overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , H. pylori accounts for 85% to 95% of all cases.

In addition to changes in diet, the treatment of peptic ulcers will typically involve one or more of the following:

  • Antibiotics: These are prescription antibacterial drugs used in combination to kill H. pylori. Options include Flagyl , Amoxil , clarithromycin, and tetracycline.
  • Proton pump inhibitors : These are over-the-counter and prescription drugs used to reduce stomach acids. Options include Prilosec , Prevacid , Nexium , and Protonix .
  • Histamine-2 receptor blockers: These are over-the-counter and prescription drugs aslo used to reduce stomach acids. Options include Pepcid AC , Tagamet HB , and Axid AR .
  • Antacids: These are over-the-counter agents used to neutralize stomach acids. These include Tums , Milk of Magnesia , and Pepto-Bismol .
  • Cytoprotective agents These are prescription drugs ed to protect the lining of your stomach and small intestine. Options include Carafate and Cytotec .

Who Is More Likely To Get Ulcers

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One in 10 people develops an ulcer. Risk factors that make ulcers more likely include:

  • Frequent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , a group of common pain relievers that includes ibuprofen .
  • A family history of ulcers.
  • Illness such as liver, kidney or lung disease.
  • Regularly drinking alcohol.

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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.

Identifying Peptic Ulcer Pain

It is possible for people to mistake normal stomach pain for ulcer pain, or vice versa. However, typically, the pain from a stomach ulcer feels sharp, burning, or gnawing and stays in one place .

It may also be described as a vague abdominal discomfort, nausea, aching, fullness, pressure, or a hunger sensation, and the symptoms tend to recur in episodes.

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How Do H Pylori Cause A Peptic Ulcer And Peptic Ulcer Disease

H. pylori are spiral-shaped bacteria that can cause peptic ulcer disease by damaging the mucous coating that protects the lining of the stomach and duodenum. Once H. pylori have damaged the mucous coating, powerful stomach acid can get through to the sensitive lining. Together, the stomach acid and H. pylori irritate the lining of the stomach or duodenum and cause a peptic ulcer.

What Is An Ulcer

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An ulcer is the result of an imbalance in digestive fluids. It occurs when the linings of the stomach or the small intestines become deeply eroded.

Ulcersrange from quite small to an inch or more in size.

Stomach ulcers are also known as gastric ulcers. Just as pepticulcers are any ulcers that affect both the stomach and small intestines.

The stomach produces a strong acid to help digest food and protect against microbes. To protect the tissues of the body from this acid, it also secretes a thick layer of mucus. If the mucus layer is worn away and stops functioning effectively, the acid can damage the stomach tissue causing an ulcer.

In some cases, the body produces too much stomach acid. As a result, the mucous lining becomes damaged or worn away. When this happens, the acid may damage the lining of the digestive tract and cause an ulcer sore.

Peptic ulcer remains a common problem in the United States. Around 10% of people will have peptic ulcer disease at some point in their life.

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Loss of appetite and weight lossmay occur in people with peptic ulcer disease. In certain cases, the ulcers may bleed into the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in dark stool.

Related Symptoms & Signs

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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 Is A Stomach Ulcer

A stomach ulcer, also called a gastric ulcer, is an open sore that develops in your stomach lining. You can also get one in your duodenum, the first part of the small intestine that your stomach feeds into. Duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers are both types of peptic ulcers. Theyre named for pepsin, one of the digestive juices that are found in the stomach and that sometimes leak into the duodenum. These juices are a contributing factor in peptic ulcer disease.

Peptic ulcers occur when the protective mucous lining in your stomach and duodenum has been eroded, allowing gastric acids and digestive enzymes to eat away at your stomach and duodenal walls. This eventually results in open sores that are continually irritated by the acid. If left untreated, they can begin to cause serious complications, such as internal bleeding. Over time, they can even wear a hole all the way through. This is a medical emergency.

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What Happens To Your Stomach When You Have An Ulcer

What happens to your stomach when you have an ulcer? When your stomach lining is damaged, scar tissue forms, causing blockage of the food passageway, as well as potential swelling in the small intestines. This will make you feel as though you are full, even though you havent eaten anything.

Can a peptic ulcer be relieved by food? Pain arising from duodenal ulcers, the most common type, often occurs when the stomach is empty or during the night, and can be temporarily relieved by food intake. However, approximately 20 percent of all peptic ulcer cases are asymptomatic.

Where is a peptic ulcer located in the body? A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of your stomach or the first part of your small intestine . If the ulcer is in your stomach, it is called a gastric ulcer. If the ulcer is in your duodenum, it is called a duodenal ulcer.

How often should you eat if you have a stomach ulcer? In fact, moving away from eating three large meals a day to eating smaller meals every three hours is a key component of managing stomach ulcer symptoms for many people. An empty or hungry stomach is an acidy stomach, and when people with ulcers go too long without eating, that can aggravate symptoms.

How Do Nsaids Cause A Peptic Ulcer

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To understand how NSAIDs cause peptic ulcer disease, it is important to understand how NSAIDs work. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduce pain, fever, and inflammation, or swelling.

Everyone has two enzymes that produce chemicals in your bodys cells that promote pain, inflammation, and fever. NSAIDs work by blocking or reducing the amount of these enzymes that your body makes. However, one of the enzymes also produces another type of chemical that protects the stomach lining from stomach acid and helps control bleeding. When NSAIDs block or reduce the amount of this enzyme in your body, they also increase your chance of developing a peptic ulcer.

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You Have Pain Specifically In Your Upper Abdomen

One of the most common ulcer symptoms is a severe pain in the upper abdomen, according to Neil Sengupta, MD, a gastroenterology specialist at the University of Chicago. Ulcers can develop anywhere in the upper digestive track, but Dr. Sengupta says we often think about those occurring in the stomach or small intestine, where we feel pain. This pain usually occurs between the breastbone and belly button, and can bring on a burning, aching, or dull feeling. The sensation may begin as a light, mild pain but often progresses into something more serious as the ulcers develop.

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