What Causes Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers occur when the layer protecting the stomach lining from stomach acid breaks down. This allows the stomach lining to become damaged.
This is usually caused by:
- an infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
- taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen or aspirin particularly if they’re taken for a long time or at high doses
There’s little evidence that stress or certain foods causes stomach ulcers.
More about the causes of stomach ulcers
How To Prevent Ulcers If You Drink
Quite simply, the best way to stop ulcers from drinking is to cease alcohol use. If you have an ulcer, it is important to stop drinking so that the ulcer has time to heal without being irritated by alcohol.
Because there isnt a way to prevent ulcers when you drink alcohol, avoiding alcohol altogether may be your only option for preventing the development of stomach ulcers. If you currently have ulcers and drink alcohol, your symptoms will likely worsen, along with the condition of the ulcer. Ceasing alcohol use can be done on your own or with the help of a medical detox team at a rehab facility like The Recovery Village.
Related Topic:Alcohol gastritis treatment
If you are struggling with alcohol use and would like to quit, you do not have to go through the process alone. Our team at The Recovery Village is here to support you every step of the way as you work toward a healthier life. Contact us today and learn how we can help.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Treatment for Peptic Ulcers. Published November 2014. Accessed April 27, 2019.
Try Cabbage To Treat Ulcers
Folk healers have traditionally advised people to drink cabbage juice during ulcer flare-ups. It might be worth a try because cabbage contains an amino acid called glutamine, which is thought to speed intestinal healing. Some alternative experts recommend juicing half a head of cabbage and drinking it once daily. Eating the same amount of raw cabbage will have similar effectsbut dont bother with cooked cabbage, because heat cancels the beneficial effects.
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Can I Still Drink Wine If I Have Stomach Ulcers
Q: I was recently diagnosed with stomach ulcers. Is it OK for me to drink wine?Walter, Houston
A: Stomach ulcers are painful sores that can occur when the stomach linings protective layer of mucus deteriorates, over-exposing the lining to stomach acid. There are many potential causes, but the two most common are infections of Helicobacter pylori bacteria and frequent use of anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Stomach ulcers are treatable with medications, most of which do not have interactions with alcohol. Gastroenterologists agree that moderate wine consumption will not worsen ulcers and could even prevent them.
University of Virginia gastroenterologist Dr. Dennis Kumral says that neither stress nor excessive alcohol intake have been shown to cause ulcers on their own, despite some common misconceptions. In fact, there was a study that showed modest consumption of wine protected against the ulcer-forming bacteria H. Pylori, he told Wine Spectator.
What Happens After Treatment
A repeat gastroscopy is usually advised a few weeks after treatment has finished. This is mainly to check that the ulcer has healed. It is also to be doubly certain that the ulcer was not due to stomach cancer. If your ulcer was caused by H. pylori then a test is advised to check that the H. pylori infection has gone. This is done at least four weeks after the course of combination therapy has finished.
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Causes Of Abdominal Pain And Diarrhea In Pregnant People
Pregnant people are especially prone to abdominal pain and diarrhea. One common reason is that many people make changes to their diet when they find out theyre pregnant. This can cause digestive trouble.
If youre pregnant, you may also start having sensitivities to particular foods. This can include foods you eat on a regular basis, resulting in abdominal pain and diarrhea. On top of that, hormone changes in your reproductive system that occur during pregnancy may also cause these symptoms.
Seek medical help if youre having abdominal pain and diarrhea that last for 3 days, if the pain grows increasingly worse over a 24-hour period, or if its accompanied by any of these symptoms:
- frequent nausea or vomiting
- a sustained fever of 101Â°F for adults or 100.4Â°F for children
- stool that contains blood or dried blood, which looks like wet coffee grounds
- an inability to keep food down
- extreme thirst or dry mouth
- an inability to speak or see
- mental confusion or loss of consciousness
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- swelling of the genitals
- external bleeding
Diarrhea can be more dangerous for infants, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. In these cases, discuss symptoms with a doctor.
If you dont have a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
What About Complicated Ulcers
While most ulcers are successfully treated with medication, some complicated ulcers may require surgery. Ulcers that are bleeding, or that have perforated your stomach or intestinal wall, will need to be surgically repaired. An ulcer that is malignant, or obstructing a passageway, will need to be surgically removed. In severe cases, an ulcer that keeps coming back may be treated by surgery to cut off some of the nerve supply to the stomach that produces stomach acid.
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When Should You Call Or See A Doctor
If you think you have a stomach ulcer, call your doctor. Together you can discuss your symptoms and treatment options. If you dont already have a physician, you can use the Healthline FindCare tool to find a provider near you.
Its important to get a stomach ulcer taken care of because without treatment, ulcers and H. pylori can cause:
- bleeding from the ulcer site that can become life-threatening
- penetration, which occurs when the ulcer goes through the wall of the digestive tract and into another organ, such as the pancreas
- perforation, which occurs when the ulcer creates a hole in the wall of the digestive tract
- obstruction in the digestive tract, which is due to swelling of inflamed tissues
- stomach cancer, specifically
Symptoms of these complications can include those listed below. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to call you doctor right away:
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Get medical help right away or call your local emergency number if you:
- Are currently being treated for cancer
- Are unable to pass stool, especially if you are also vomiting
- Are vomiting blood or have blood in your stool
- Have chest, neck, or shoulder pain
- Have sudden, sharp abdominal pain
- Have pain in, or between, your shoulder blades with nausea
- Have tenderness in your belly, or your belly is rigid and hard to the touch
- Are pregnant or could be pregnant
- Had a recent injury to your abdomen
- Have difficulty breathing
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Diagnosing Abdominal Pain And Diarrhea
To determine the cause of abdominal pain and diarrhea, a doctor will first perform a physical exam. Theyll also ask some questions about your health history and lifestyle.
Traveling to certain countries may increase your risk of digestive disease. Be sure to mention any recent trips overseas. The doctor will also ask questions about any recent changes in your diet.
A doctor may perform a stool culture, in which theyll send a sample of your feces to a lab to check for bacteria, viruses, and parasites. If this comes up negative, they may run a more complete analysis of your feces to look for possible digestive disorders.
Other common diagnostic tests include:
- Endoscopy. In an endoscopy, a doctor sends a camera down your throat and into your stomach to check for problems, such as ulcers and signs of celiac disease.
- Colonoscopy. A colonoscopy involves sending a camera into the rectum and intestines to check for signs of damage and signs of disease, such as ulcers and polyps.
- Lower GI tract radiography. In a lower GI tract radiography, also known as a barium enema, a technician will perform a real-time X-ray of the abdomen. This occurs after the doctor injects a barium-based contrast material into the rectum that can highlight intestinal obstructions and other conditions.
Medication can help treat the underlying condition causing your abdominal pain and diarrhea. If your symptoms are caused by stress or need to be managed, home remedies can help.
Nsaids And Stomach Ulcers
The risk of ulcers increases if the drugs are taken in high doses or regularly for a long time.
Stronger NSAIDs, such as those available on prescription, carry a greater risk of stomach ulcers than those that people can buy over the counter.
A person should always check labels and consult a pharmacist or a doctor about any concerns regarding using pain relief medication. They may recommend an alternative, such as acetaminophen.
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What Other Symptoms Relate To Abdominal Pain
Pain in the abdomen may be experienced as aching, stabbing, burning, twisting, cramping, dull, or a gnawing pain.
The pain may also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as a feeling of discomfort in the abdomen, bloating, constipation, wind , belching , fever, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, fever, dehydration or loss of appetite
Describing the pattern and location of your symptoms to a doctor may help them in identifying the cause of your abdominal pain. These causes include:
- Peptic ulcer The pain is often felt in the upper abdomen, as a knife-like pain which goes through to the back.
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease The pain usually causes a central burning pain that develops just under the breastbone, and may rise upwards. It may be accompanied by belching.
- Appendicitis The pain usually starts near the navel before moving down to the lower right abdomen when it becomes more constant.
- Gallstones or gallbladder irritation The pain is felt in the upper right abdomen, back or right shoulder.
- Lower abdominal pain: Also referred to as lower stomach pain, it is probably coming from your bowel.
- Period pain This is usually a dull, cramping pain, felt low down, which may radiate through to the back.
Burning Pain In Your Abdomen
This may seem like a no-brainer but the most common sign that people experience when they have a stomach ulcer is a persistent burning pain in their abdomen. This sensation occurs when juices in the stomach used for digestion come into contact with the open sore. For the most part, the pain is felt from the breastbone to navel and is often worse at night than during the day. On the other hand, if you are someone who frequently skips meals, you may find that you experience this pain much throughout the daytime.
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How Bad Are Soft Drinks
According to a January 2015 review in the journal BioMed Research International, soft drinks may include ingredients you might not want to consume even if you dont have an ulcer, such as caffeine sugar or other sweeteners artificial coloring preservatives and flavorings like phosphoric acid.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that sugar-sweetened beverages in general are a major cause of the overabundance of sugar in the American diet. These drinks have been linked to tooth decay, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, gout and arthritis.
A safe drink to reduce stomach acid symptoms is one you can make at home, Rubman says. Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to 4 or 5 ounces of water and sip slowly. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, which strengthens the mucosal barrier in the stomach.
Bottom line: Avoid soft drinks if you have an ulcer.
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The Dangers Of Stomach Ulcers
While ulcers dont necessarily cause more than discomfort initially, if left untreated, they can lead to some serious medical complications. These can include:
- Internal bleeding and serious blood loss which can require hospitalization and blood transfusions
- Peritonitis, or infection of the abdominal cavity
- Obstructed digestion
- Trouble breathing
At the first sign or symptom of ulcers, its important to get a medical evaluation and to treat them appropriately to prevent a worsening or severe condition.
Ulcers can be easy to treat and manage, even naturally, once they are diagnosed.
Traditional treatment for stomach ulcers involves removing sources of aggravation, like:
- Switching away from NSAID or steroid drugs which could be worsening the condition
- Quitting cigarettes
- Eliminating alcohol consumption
- Taking acid blocking drugs to reduce and manage stomach acid
When an ulcer is caused by H. pylori, its important to live a lifestyle that reduces aggravation and the causes, because ulcers can easily return if the bacteria continues to live in the digestive tract.
Sometimes conventional medical treatment will require surgery to address ulcer complications, especially if theyve begun to bleed internally. Surgical intervention typically involves the removal of the ulcer, tying off bleeding vessels, grafting tissue from another site to repair the ulcer, or reducing the stomachs ability to produce acid.
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If Your Ulcer Was Caused By Helicobacter Pylori
Most stomach ulcers are caused by infection with H. pylori. Therefore, a main part of the treatment is to clear this infection. If this infection is not cleared, the ulcer is likely to return once you stop taking acid-suppressing medication. For more information, see the separate leaflet called Helicobacter Pylori.
When To See The Doctor
Peptic ulcers will get worse if theyre not treated, so contact your doctor if you have symptoms or any signs that you could have one. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the way people find out they have an ulcer is by developing bleedstheyre taking a lot of aspirin or NSAIDS and they either start vomiting blood or have black tarry stool, says Marcus.
Your doctor may be able to diagnose a peptic ulcer by talking with you about your symptoms. Be sure to disclose the frequency of NSAID use.
However, some tests are usually used to confirm the diagnosis. For instance, to see if you have an H. pylori infection, your doctor will test your blood, breath or stool. They may also look inside your stomach and duodenum by doing an endoscopy or X-ray. An endoscopy is a procedure where a lighted tube is inserted through the throat and into the stomach to check for abnormalities.
How Can I Prevent Ulcers
You may be able to prevent ulcers from forming if you:
- Talk to your doctor about alternatives to NSAID medications to relieve pain.
- Discuss protective measures with your doctor, if you cant stop taking an NSAID.
- Opt for the lowest effective dose of NSAID and take it with a meal.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
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Learn The Common Causes And Home Remedies For Stomach Pain
Ã¢My stomach hurts.Ã¢ If you have children, chances are youÃ¢ve heard this before.
Stomach pain is one of the most common complaints among children and teens. It can range from mild discomfort to severe cramping, burning or nausea. While most cases arenÃ¢t serious, itÃ¢s helpful to know what can cause stomach pain and when to call a doctor.
Here are some of the most frequent causes of stomach problems in small children and teens:
Gas pain or indigestion is common in kids of all ages. Diet often plays a role. Carbonated drinks, such as soda may upset the stomach, especially if the child drinks through a straw. Spicy foods, beans, citrus and caffeine may cause gas.
Younger kids may not know what constipation is or that it can lead to stomach pain. If your child complains of stomach pain around the belly button or the left lower side of the abdomen, ask them when they last pooped, or if theyÃ¢re having problems doing it.
Too much of anything, from pizza and popcorn to Halloween candy, can cause abdominal pain. Kids often eat quickly and donÃ¢t realize theyÃ¢re full until theyÃ¢ve overdone it. Plus, eating too quickly can contribute to discomfort.
Milk allergy is a reaction to a protein in milk that may cause cramps. It is not the same as lactose intolerance.
When to call the pediatrician
Home treatment for tummy aches
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
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.