You Have Heartburn At Most Meals
If you find yourself experiencing frequent heartburn, regardless of what you eat, an ulcer may be responsible. Many patients with ulcers describe feeling very intense chest pain, which often causes them to burp or hiccup more than usual after eating. In many cases, a simple over-the-counter antacid can be taken to temporarily alleviate some of the pain and gassiness, but if it persists day after day, its likely something more than a regular case of heartburn.
Youve Had Unexplained Vomiting
From time to time, the nausea brought on by ulcers may become so intense that it could actually cause you to vomit. Frequent vomiting is never a fun experience, but whatever you do, stay away from medications like ibuprofen and aspirin when treating the condition and other ulcer symptoms. According to Dr. Sengupta, these over-the-counter pain medications actually put you at a higher risk of developing ulcers, and can make your current ulcers worse.
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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How Are Peptic Ulcers Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will look at your past health and give you a physical exam. You may also have some tests.
Imaging tests used to diagnose ulcers include:
- Upper GI series or barium swallow. This test looks at the organs of the top part of your digestive system. It checks your food pipe , stomach, and the first part of the small intestine . You will swallow a metallic fluid called barium. Barium coats the organs so that they can be seen on an X-ray.
- Upper endoscopy or EGD . This test looks at the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. It uses a thin lighted tube called an endoscope. The tube has a camera at one end. The tube is put into your mouth and throat. Then it goes into your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Your health care provider can see the inside of these organs. A small tissue sample can be taken. This can be checked for H. pylori.
You may also have the following lab tests to see if you have an H. pylori infection:
How Are Stomach Ulcers Treated
If you have a stomach ulcer, you may be given:
- a combination of antibiotic medicines to eradicate the Helicobacter pylori bacteria if it is present
- medicines that reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces, such as proton pump inhibitors
Some people have one of these treatments, while some have both.
If you have a stomach ulcer that was caused by taking anti-inflammatory medications, do not stop these without talking to your doctor first.
To help manage symptoms, you can also:
- stop smoking
- eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, and make sure there is enough iron in your diet
- avoid foods that make symptoms worse, such as fatty meals, alcohol, tomatoes, spicy foods, coffee, chocolate or hot drinks
- lose weight if you are overweight
- take an antacid
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Why Are Ulcers Worse At Night
Ulcers are the open sores that develop in the inner lining of the stomach or duodenum. One of the aggravating factors is an increase in gastric acid in the stomach. When we eat food at night, our stomach makes a lot of acid to digest the food.
Once the digestion is completed, the stomach gets emptied and it remains as such for a longer duration of time. But the gastric acid levels still remain high there, as a result of which ulcers that are already present worsen.
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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What Are The Symptoms Of A Peptic Ulcer Does It Cause Pain
Ulcers do not always cause symptoms. Sometimes, a serious complication such as bleeding or a sudden, bad upper abdominal pain is the first sign of an ulcer.
The most common symptom of peptic ulcers is abdominal pain.
- The pain is usually in the upper middle part of the abdomen, above the belly button and below the breastbone.
- The ulcer pain can feel like burning, or gnawing, and it may go through to the back.
- Pain often comes several hours after a meal when the stomach is empty.
- The pain is often worse at night and early morning.
- It can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
- The ulcer pain may be relieved by food, antacids, or vomiting.
Other symptoms of peptic ulcers include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
Severe ulcers may cause bleeding in the stomach or duodenum. Bleeding is sometimes the only symptom of an ulcer. This bleeding can be fast or slow. Fast bleeding reveals itself in one of the following ways:
- Vomiting of blood or dark material that looks something like coffee grounds: This is an emergency and warrants an immediate visit to an emergency department.
- Blood in the stool or black, tarry, sticky-looking stools
Slow bleeding is often more difficult to detect, because it has no dramatic symptoms.
- The usual result is low blood cell count .
- The symptoms of anemia are tiredness , lack of energy , weakness, rapid heartbeat , and pale skin .
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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Black Or Dark Colored Stool
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.
What Causes Stomach And Duodenal Ulcers In A Child
Experts used to think that stress, diet, and stomach acid caused ulcers. Today, research shows that most ulcers form because of an infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Other things play a role, but this germ is often the main cause of most ulcers.
The following things may play a role in stomach or duodenal ulcers:
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What Is A Stomach Ulcer
Stomach ulcers are painful sores that develop in the lining of your digestive system. They usually form in the stomach but can also sometimes develop in the small intestine or the esophagus.
Heres the basics of how ulcers work:
Ulcers form when any combination of excess gastric acids, bacteria, drugs or other toxins cause damage and small openings to the mucosa, the tissue that lines the stomach, parts of the small intestine, and other organs. Mucosa normally protect particles from leaking out.
When someone has an ulcer, hydrochloric acid and pepsin build up and destroy parts of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. The stomach usually manages acid/pepsin by creating a thick mucus coating that is supposed to act as a buffer between the stomach lining and the acids inside the stomach. The mucus coating itself usually produces certain chemicals that help repair the stomach lining, keep blood circulating and carry out cellular renewal processes. But some part of this process can become disturbed, and the lining of the GI tract can become exposed, forming small sores .
When you eat a meal, food washes the acid in your stomach away temporarily, as its used to break down the nutrients in the recently consumed food. But then once your food is digested, the acid once again accumulates in the stomach and can wash against the raw base of the ulcer, exposing and opening it up. This causes a burning, painful sensation, sometimes one thats very strong.
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.
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How Is A Peptic Ulcer Treated
Some peptic ulcers heal on their own. But if you donât treat them, the ulcers tend to come back.
They can erode the blood vessel wall in your stomach or small intestine. The ulcers also can eat a hole through the lining and get infected. Or they can cause swelling, which may block food from moving from your stomach into your small intestine.
If H. pylori is the culprit, your doctor may prescribe a mix of antibiotics to kill it. If aspirin and other NSAIDs are behind the ulcer, you may need to cut down on them, stop taking them altogether, or switch to another pain reliever.
Your doctor may also give you antacids to fight stomach acid, or prescribe medicine to lessen the acid your body makes. Prescription drugs called cytoprotective agents can help protect the lining of the stomach or small intestine so the ulcer can heal.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have stomach ulcers, you may want to ask your doctor:
- What pain reliever can I use instead of an NSAID?
- How will I know if the H. pylori infection is gone?
- How do we find out if the ulcer has healed?
- What can I do relieve symptoms at home during treatment?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Contrary to commonly held beliefs, ulcers arent caused by stress or foods you eat. Most of time, bacteria causes them. Doctors can treat the bacteria with antibiotics and other medications.
If youve been popping a lot of antacids lately, youre constantly snacking to get rid of a gnawing pain in your stomach or you have any other signs of an ulcer, the best thing you can do for your health is talk to your provider. Treatment can heal an ulcer in a matter of weeks.
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What Is An Ulcer
An ulcer is an open, painful sore. Peptic ulcers affect the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine, called the duodenum . Ulcers in the stomach are also called stomach ulcers or gastric ulcers. Those in the duodenum are also called duodenal ulcers.
Peptic ulcers are common, but mostly affect adults. Most can be cured.
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 Early Symptoms Of An Ulcer
The early symptoms of ulcers may vary from one person to another. In general, the notable symptoms are as follows:
- Having a burning sensation and pain in the stomach. It is mainly due to stomach acid which makes the condition worse in the stomach. The pain can be reduced by eating certain foods and acid-reducing medicines.
- Intolerance to fatty foods
Possible Causes Of Mouth And Tongue Ulcers
So what causes tongue ulcers? Besides canker sores, there are a number of different possible triggers that can make a mouth ulcer appear.
- Oral thrush: This is a condition caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans within the mouth. The fungus creates white, creamy-colored cuts along the inner cheek and tongue that can develop into ulcers if not treated. Aside from the white lesions, oral thrush also presents with cracking at the corners of the mouth, loss of taste, and cottonmouth.
- Injury: Minor injuries can sometimes develop into canker sores or mouth ulcers. Over-eager brushing, dental work, biting your cheek or tongue, or sporting accidents are all possible causes.
- Food sensitivities: For obvious reasons, the surface of your mouth reacts to the food you eat. In some people, foods like chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, cheese, and spicy or acidic food can provoke enough irritation to form a sore.
- Allergies: Your mouth is home to lots of bacteria, and sometimes your body wants them out. The ulcer that forms is a result of tissue getting caught in the way.
- Bacteria and viruses: Various illnesses can cause mouth ulcers to appear. The most common candidate is called Helicobacter pylori, the same culprit behind peptic ulcers and herpes. Strictly speaking, herpes causes cold sores, which, while not related to canker sores, can develop into more persistent wounds like a mouth ulcer if left unaddressed.
Infectious Diseases That Cause Ulcers In Dogs
This can include bacterial, fungal, and viral infections that affect the stomach such as gastrointestinal inflammation or increased stomach acid.
- Bacterias that cause can cause ulcers in dogs include: campylobacter, helicobacter, salmonella, clostridium piliforme
- Viral infections that can cause ulcers in dogs include: canine parvovirus, canine coronavirus, canine rotavirus, canine astroviruses
- Fungal infections that can cause ulcers in dogs include:histoplasma capsulatum, aspergillus species, candida albicans, phycomycetes
What Are The Long Term Effects Of Ulcers
The ulcers, when left untreated for a long time, can lead to the following situations:
- Bleeding: Patients may experience internal bleeding and blood loss, leading to anemia and blood in vomiting or stools. This may require hospitalization or transfusion.
- Infection: The ulcer when left untreated can perforate through the walls of the stomach or small intestine and can cause serious infection in the abdominal cavity region.
- It can lead to the blockage of the passage of the food via the digestive tract and thus can lead to symptoms of vomiting, nausea, weight loss, swelling in the intestine, etc.
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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.
Diagnosis Of Ulcers In Dogs
- Laboratory Tests: There are a variety of laboratory test that can be done to diagnose your dog for ulcers.
- Endoscopy: This is the best method for definitive diagnosis. It reveals the presence of ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract and facilitates the removal of abnormal bodies or tissue for a biopsy.
- Complete blood count: This will help diagnose anemia due to blood lost and its severity.
- Biochemistry profile: This is another blood test that measures the electrolytes such as blood potassium, and identifies the levels of circulating enzymes. Its done to help determine the underlying disease.
- Urinalysis and Fecal Matter Analysis: This will help narrow down the organs being affected and determines the presence of blood in either excretions.
- X-Rays & Ultrasounds: Thesewill identify if there are any foreign objects or tumors in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Thoracic X-Ray: This is administered in the event of a tumor to help identify if the growth of tumor has spread to the lungs.
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