How Do Doctors Diagnose A Stomach Ulcer
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask you about your medical history and any medications you may be taking. You may be asked to describe the stomach pain that you are feeling, for example, whether it is a dull pain or a sharp pain. If there is blood in your vomit or stool, this can also help them make an accurate diagnosis as these are common signs of stomach ulcers.
You might need tests like endoscopy, a procedure where they insert a long, thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end through your stomach to see what is going on, or an upper gastrointestinal series where you swallow barium, called a barium swallow, and they take an X-ray of the stomach and digestive tract. The doctor may also perform an endoscopic biopsy where they take a tissue sample from your stomach and analyze it. Blood, stool, and breath tests are also common to test for the H. pylori bacterium to ensure it is not an H. pylori infection.
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.
Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers
Although the most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain in the centre of the abdomen . Not all stomach ulcers are painful.
Some people experience:
Speak to your GP immediately if:
- your symptoms persist
- youre vomiting blood the blood can appear bright red or have a dark brown, grainy appearance like coffee grounds
- youre passing dark, sticky, tar-like stools
- you feel a sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets steadily worse
These could be a sign of a serious complication.
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Living With Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are painful and can significantly affect your quality of life. Coping strategies to help you manage chronic ulcers include:
- Avoid NSAIDs as they can increase your risk of ulcers. Talk with your healthcare provider about which pain medications are safe for you.
- Manage stress, which has been linked with an increased risk of ulcers. Incorporate stress-relieving activities such as mindfulness or yoga into your routine.
- Change your diet and try avoiding foods that can worsen them. A bland diet is safest when you have an ulcer.
- Eat small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones to reduce the pain.
Q: Can An Ulcer Be Completely Cured
A: If you have peptic ulcer disease, which can involve stomach ulcers and/or duodenal ulcers of the small intestine, the answer is yes! These ulcers can be completely healed.
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The development of H2 blockers and then Proton Pump Inhibitors allow for most ulcers to be completely healed with medication. With these treatment developments, surgery for peptic ulcer disease is seldom needed.
These types of ulcers are caused primarily by three things: Stomach acids, H. pylori infections and medications, such as aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen .
Contrary to popular belief, the normal stress of day-to-day life does not cause or contribute to ulcers. Also, theres no genetic link involved with the risk for developing ulcers, and diet has no effect on the healing of an ulcer either.
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What If A Peptic Ulcer Doesn’t Heal
Most often, medicines heal a peptic ulcer. If an H. pylori infection caused your peptic ulcer, you should finish all of your antibiotics and take any other medicines your doctor prescribes. The infection and peptic ulcer will heal only if you take all medicines as your doctor prescribes.
When you have finished your medicines, your doctor may do another breath or stool test in 4 weeks or more to be sure the H. pylori infection is gone. Sometimes, H. pylori bacteria are still present, even after you have taken all the medicines correctly. If the infection is still present, your peptic ulcer could return or, rarely, stomach cancer could develop. Your doctor will prescribe different antibiotics to get rid of the infection and cure your peptic ulcer.
Cure : Foods For Stomach Ulcers
Foods for Ulcer, Weird isnt it? Yes, foods could actually prevent/cure Stomach Ulcer. One could say the primary culprit in the case of stomach ulcers could be narrowed down to food and food habits. Eating certain foods such as foods that contain nitrates could fuel your infection. However, eating certain foods could also help you prevent and even cure your stomach ulcer.
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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?
When Should I Call The Doctor
- sudden, sharp, lasting belly pain
- bloody or black bowel movements
- bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
These could be signs of a serious problem for a child whos had a peptic ulcer, such as:
If your child takes NSAIDs and shows signs of a peptic ulcer, get medical help right away. Delaying diagnosis and treatment can lead to more problems and, possibly, the need for surgery. But with quick treatment, almost all peptic ulcers can be cured.
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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.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies
Adopt a healthy diet
Dietary polyphenols are shown to aid in the treatment of stomach ulcer . Its found abundantly in natural plant food sources that are rich in antioxidant properties. Examples of dietary phenols include fruits, vegetables, tea, chocolates, and extra virgin olive oil. These foods may also inhibit acid secretion and contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Cabbage juice is highly rich in vitamin C, which may help prevent and treat H. pylori infections. Doctors reportedly used cabbage juice to treat stomach ulcers decades before antibiotics were available.
Probiotics can help to reduce an H. pylori infection and achieve optimal gut health. It can also help enhance the efficacy of treatment and reduce the side effects of antibiotics. Foods that are rich in probiotics include yogurt, fermented food, miso, and sauerkraut. Alternatively, you may also want to consider probiotics supplements.
Foods to Avoid
Certain foods and drinks may increase the likelihood of developing stomach ulcers, exacerbate symptoms, and impede healing. This include:
Spicy and fatty foods take longer to digest, which can lead to abdominal pain and bloating bad news if you have an ulcer.
Caffeine and alcohol may exacerbate symptoms if consumed in excess. They can erode and irritate the mucous lining in your stomach, causing inflammation and bleeding.
Stress may worsen the symptoms of a stomach ulcer. Consider the sources of your stress and address it accordingly.
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Treatment For A Stomach Ulcer
Special diets are now known to have very little impact on the prevention or treatment of stomach ulcers. Treatment options can include:
- medication including antibiotics, to destroy the H. pylori colony, and drugs to help speed the healing process. Different drugs need to be used in combination some of the side effects can include diarrhoea and rashes. Resistance to some of these antibiotics is becoming more common
- subsequent breath tests used to make sure the H. pylori infection has been treated successfully
- changes to existing medication the doses of arthritis medication, aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medication can be altered slightly to reduce their contributing effects on the stomach ulcer.
- reducing acid tablets are available to reduce the acid content in the gastric juices
- lifestyle modifications including quitting cigarettes, since smoking reduces the natural defences in the stomach and impairs the healing process.
Causes And Risk Factors
Stomach ulcers are most often caused due to:
- A bacterial infection caused by Helicobacter pylori.
- Long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications, like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
- A medical condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome that increases the production of body acids.
The risk factors for stomach ulcers are:
- Age above 50 years
- A diet that consists of spicy foods
It is highly recommended to begin treatment as soon as you observe the onset of stomach ulcers. If left untreated, they may cause internal bleeding and become life-threatening. While mild to moderate ulcers may be healed with the remedies given here, severe cases need medical attention.
Stomach ulcers are like sores in the stomach that cause abdominal pain and discomfort. They are mostly caused due to poor lifestyle choices like smoking and drinking, spicy food, stress, infections, or certain medications. The most common signs of stomach ulcers include a dull pain that improves upon eating or taking antacids, acid reflux, bloating, nausea, loss of appetite from pain, heartburn, burping, and vomit resembling coffee grounds. You may be able to heal mild to moderate cases of stomach ulcers using the home remedies discussed here. However, urgent medical attention is needed for more severe cases as these ulcers can cause internal bleeding and become a life-threatening concern.
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Can A Peptic Ulcer Come Back
Yes, a peptic ulcer can come back. If you smoke or take NSAIDs, peptic ulcers are more likely to come back. If you need to take an NSAID, your doctor may switch you to a different medicine or add medicines to help prevent a peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcer disease can return, even if you have been careful to reduce your risk.
Ulcer Treatment: 10 Foods You Must To Treat Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are open sores within the lining of the stomach. They are a type of peptic ulcer, meaning having to do with acid. Because of the amount of acid present in the stomach and the damage that can occur, they are often extremely painful.
The most common cause of stomach ulcers is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori.
Ulcers may also be caused by overuse of painkillers, such as aspirin , and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories , such as ibuprofen or naproxen .
Stomach ulcers are treated with antibiotics and medications to reduce and block stomach acid.
In addition to this well-proven treatment plan, research has shown that there are also some natural home remedies that may be useful in managing a stomach ulcer.
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Do Stomach Ulcers Go Away On Their Own Treatment
Some stomach ulcers may go away on their own without treatment, especially if you follow a strict diet and avoid triggers. However, ulcers can worsen if left untreated, so it is best to seek medical attention to prevent complications such as internal bleeding. Even with treatment, though, there is a chance that the stomach ulcer will come back.
Stomach ulcers are most likely to persist or recur even after treatment in the following conditions:
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics
- Regular tobacco use
- Regular use of pain relief medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome or gastrinoma
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Peptic Ulcer Disease And H Pylori Infection
Am Fam Physician. 2015 Feb 15 91:236-242.
Patient information: See related handout on H. pylori and stomach ulcers, written by the authors of this article.
Dyspepsia is characterized by epigastric pain, discomfort, or a burning sensation.1 An important cause of dyspepsia is peptic ulcer disease , which includes gastric and duodenal ulcers. Although PUD is most commonly caused by Helicobacter pylori infection or use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , other diagnoses should be considered .
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Use the test-and-treat strategy for patients with dyspepsia who are younger than 55 years and have no alarm symptoms for gastric cancer. Use endoscopy for all other patients.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Mouth Ulcer
There are three types of mouth ulcer that each have various looking sores.
- Minor- these sores are small, oval, and round ulcers in the mouth that heal within a week or two with no scarring.
- Major- these sores are larger and deeper than minor ulcers. They have irregular edges and take up to 6 weeks to heal. Long-time scarring is highly likely with these kinds of sores.
- Herpetiform- these sores are pinpoint size and occur in clusters. These have irregular edges and heals within 1-2 weeks. Scarring is not very likely.
You should see a healthcare provider if you develop any of the following:
- Unusually large sores
- New ulcers form before old ones heal or any sores that last for more than 3 weeks
- Painless sores
How Is A Stomach Ulcer Treated
Treatment for stomach ulcers usually involves a combination of medications which reduce acid secretion, protect the mucosa, and kill H. pylori bacteria .
This allows ulcers to heal and reduces the chance of them will come back. All medications should be taken exactly as prescribed.
Examples of medications that may be considered to treat stomach ulcers include:
- Antibiotics to kill H. pylori
- H2 receptor blockers that reduce stomach acid production
- Proton pump inhibitors to block stomach acid production
- Protectants that coat the ulcer and protect it against acid and enzymes, enhancing healing
- Bismuth .
Rarely, surgery may be needed.
If NSAIDs have caused your stomach ulcer, your doctor may advise you to stop taking them, reduce their dosage, or switch to an alternative medicine. Follow his/her advice. Talk to your doctor before taking antacids as these may reduce the absorption of some other medications.
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How Do I Know If My Stomach Pain Is Serious
According to the National Health Service, a person should seek immediate medical attention if their stomach ache is very severe or has a sudden onset.
People should contact a healthcare professional immediately if they notice other symptoms, such as vomiting blood, having difficulty passing urine or feces, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and jaundice.
Other Treatments For Stomach Ulcers
Ulcers need to be treated, or they will continue to worsen. Medications are considered the first-line therapy to treat stomach ulcers because they can heal them while lowering the risk of complications like bleeding. Traditional triple therapy for ulcer management includes a proton pump inhibitor, amoxicillin, and Biaxin for seven to 10 days.
Medications for stomach ulcers include:
- Antibiotics are needed to treat H. pylori because it is a type of bacteria. The antibiotic prescription needs to be taken exactly as prescribed, even if you begin to feel better before it is finished.
- Antacids reduce the acid in the stomach, and while they can make you feel better, antacids will not cure an ulcer. Talk with your healthcare provider before taking antacids as they may interact with certain antibiotics.
- Proton pump inhibitors work to reduce stomach acid and protect the lining of the stomach and duodenum. However, they do not treat or cure H. pylori. Common PPIs include Nexium , Prevacid , and Prilosec .
- H-2 blockers block histamine, the chemical that tells your stomach to produce acid. This relieves ulcer pain while protecting it during the healing phase. Examples include Pepcid and Zantac .
- Stomach lining medications coat ulcers and protect them from stomach acid, which allows them to heal. These medications can kill H. pylori but must be used with antibiotics. Examples include Carafate and Pepto-Bismol .
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