The Pros And Cons Of Pain Relief Drugs
Here’s a rundown of the benefits and risks of some popular pain medications. It should help simplify your choices when you’re in the drugstore.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use any over-the-counter painkiller on a regular basis. If you’re in that much pain, you need to talk with your doctor.
- How it works. Acetaminophen is not an NSAID. Experts aren’t actually sure how it works, but it seems to affect chemicals that increase the feeling of pain.
- Benefits. Acetaminophen reduces pain and lowers fevers. Unlike aspirin and other NSAIDS, acetaminophen is believed to be safe for people with ulcers. It doesn’t affect the natural lining of the stomach. Since it doesn’t thin the blood, it doesn’t increase the risk of bleeding either. It is safe for women who are pregnant and nursing.
- Side effects and risks. Experts say that acetaminophen is safe for people with ulcers. But like any drug, it can cause other side effects. Very high doses of acetaminophen — well over the recommended maximum of 4,000 mg/day — can cause serious liver damage. Long-term use of acetaminophen in high doses — especially when combined with caffeine or codeine can cause kidney disease.
ASPIRINBayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin
Causes Of Peptic Ulcers In Kids
Although stress and certain foods may aggravate an ulcer, most ulcers are caused by an H. pylori infection or the use of common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
However, while most experts agree that H. pylori infection is a top cause of peptic ulcers in adults, not all think that the bacteria are a major culprit in childhood ulcers. Some doctors make the distinction between duodenal ulcers, which are commonly associated with H. pylori infection, and gastric ulcers, which may stem from other causes.
It’s recognized that certain medical conditions can contribute to the development of ulcers. For instance, children with severe burns can develop ulcers secondary to the stress of their injuries. This is also true for infants who become septic . In otherwise healthy kids, peptic ulcers are very unusual.
Some doctors believe that more kids get drug-related gastric ulcers than other types of peptic ulcers. Even moderate use of NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems and bleeding in some children. Acetaminophen does not cause stomach ulcers and is a good alternative to NSAIDs for most childhood conditions.
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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What Is The Best Medication For An Ulcer
Ulcers are primarily treated with medications that reduce stomach acid, but other medications such as antacids or pain relievers might be used, as well. However, if theres an underlying infection, that infection will need to be treated with antimicrobial medications as well. There is, then, no best medication for ulcers, only the best combination of medications for a particular situation.
|Best medications for ulcers|
|Analgesic||Oral||325 to 650 mg every four to six hours as needed. Maximum dose of 4,000 mg per day.||Nausea, stomach pain, headache|
The standard dosages above are from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration , the National Institute of Health , or off-label studies for the treatment of peptic ulcers. Dosage is determined by your doctor based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and weight. Other possible side effects exist. This is not a complete list.
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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Ways To Treat A Stomach Ulcer Naturally
You always know when youve got a stomach ulcer. Theres a sharp burning sensation in your stomach that simply refuses to go away, making certain foods unbearable and eating in general a whole lot less enjoyable. If youve got a stomach ulcer, you want it gone fast.
What are stomach ulcers?
Stomach ulcers, more appropriately known as gastric ulcers, are sores or lesions that develop on the inner lining of the stomach. Think of your stomach lining as the non-stick coating on your frying pan. With everything going well, the non-stick coating remains unharmed and your food slides off easily and without sticking to the bottom. If you scratch the nonstick surface with something abrasive, however, the non-stick coating begins to flake off, exposing the vulnerable inner layer of the pan to food and, quite frankly, ruining your Sunday banana pancakes.
Just another reason to stay well away from non-stick cookware!
But back to the problem at hand. Your stomach lining is much the same. With a healthy gastrointestinal environment, the lining remains unmarred and is perfectly capable of containing its own corrosive gastric acid. But when something compromises the lining, such as anH. pylori infection orchronic stress, those gastric juices begin to corrode the more susceptible inner layers of your stomach. That explains that horrible burning sensation, then.
Getting The Right Diagnosis
The two main types of peptic ulcers are gastric ulcers, which form in the lining of the stomach, and duodenal ulcers, which occur at the top part of the small intestine, the duodenum, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.
Helicobacter pylori bacteria cause most of the ulcers affecting Americans, says Harvard Health Publishing. To a lesser extent, ulcers can be traced to the overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , including aspirin and ibuprofen. Both H. pylori and NSAIDs can erode the stomach lining or the duodenum, leaving them vulnerable to the stomach’s strong, corrosive acids, which then causes an ulcer to form.
Ulcers aren’t always obvious. In fact, most people who have ulcers experience no symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, a burning feeling in the abdomen is the most common sign noted.
To determine whether you have an ulcer, your doctor will order diagnostic tests. Laboratory tests can determine whether you have the H. pylori infection. The tests can be on your blood, stool or breath, according to Mayo. Sometimes an endoscopy, which uses a thin tube with a camera on the end, is needed to visualize the stomach lining or small intestine. If an ulcer is detected, small samples of tissue may be taken for further testing.
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What To Eat If You Have A Stomach Ulcer
Since H. pylori bacteria is now known to be an important cause of ulcer formation, scientists are exploring what foods may have a role in fighting against an infection.
In addition to taking the antibiotics and acid-blocking medications recommended by your doctor for your ulcer treatment, eating these foods may also be helpful against the ulcer-causing bacteria:
for ulcer treatment. These foods, such as miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi, may prevent reinfection.
Turmeric is currently being studied as a potential treatment for ulcers as well.
Garlic, decaffeinated green tea, and licorice round out the list of things you might want to incorporate in your diet.
How Stomach Ulcers Are Treated
With treatment, most stomach ulcers will heal within a month or two. The treatment recommended for you 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 their stomach produces and;allow the ulcer to heal naturally.
If an H. pylori infection is responsible for the ulcers,;antibiotics;will also;be used to kill the bacteria, which should prevent the ulcer coming back.
If the ulcers are caused by the use of NSAIDs,;PPIs are usually prescribed and your doctor will discuss whether you should keep using NSAIDs.
Alternative medication to NSAIDs, such as;paracetamol, may be recommended.
Stomach ulcers can come back after treatment, although this is less likely to happen if the underlying cause is addressed.
Read more about treating stomach ulcers.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Any Complications
Stomach ulcers can cause various complications but these are much less common now because of more effective treatments. However, complications can be very serious and include:
Bleeding from the ulcer
- This can range from a ‘trickle’ to a life-threatening bleed.
- If there is sudden heavy bleeding then this will cause you to vomit blood and make you feel very faint.
- Less sudden bleeding may cause you to vomit and the vomit looks coffee-coloured because the stomach acid has partly broken down the blood.
- A more gradual trickle of blood will pass through your gut and cause your stools to look very dark in colour or even black .
PerforationThis is the term used to describe the ulcer having gone all the way through the wall of the stomach. Food and acid in the stomach then leak out of the stomach. This usually causes severe pain and makes you very unwell. Stomach perforation is a medical emergency and needs hospital treatment as soon as possible.
Stomach blockageThis is now rare. An ulcer at the end of the stomach can cause the outlet of the stomach to narrow and cause an obstruction. This can cause frequent severe vomiting.
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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 non-cardia gastric cancer
Symptoms of these complications can include those listed below. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to call you doctor right away:
If Your Ulcer Was Caused By An Anti
If possible, you should stop taking the anti-inflammatory medicine. This allows the ulcer to heal. You will also normally be prescribed an acid-suppressing medicine for several weeks. This stops the stomach from making acid and allows the ulcer to heal. However, in many cases, the anti-inflammatory medicine is needed to ease symptoms of arthritis or other painful conditions, or aspirin is needed to protect against blood clots. In these situations, one option is to take an acid-suppressing medicine each day indefinitely. This reduces the amount of acid made by the stomach and greatly reduces the chance of an ulcer forming again.
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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:
Purpose Of Stomach Ulcer Surgery
Peptic ulcers can cause pain, stomach discomfort, abdominal cramps, decreased appetite, hematemesis, gastrointestinal bleeding, iron deficiency anemia , and malnutrition.
Generally, the condition can be effectively treated with medication and lifestyle changes, rather than with surgical intervention. Smoking and alcohol use can contribute to stomach ulcers, and stopping these habits can help an ulcer heal. Sometimes dietary modifications, like avoiding spicy foods, can help control symptoms.
Surgical management may be needed for complications of peptic ulcer disease or for treatment of a stomach ulcer that doesn’t improve despite conservative management.
Issues that may warrant surgical intervention for the treatment of peptic ulcer disease include:
These issues can cause persistent and serious health problems. Stomach ulcer surgery would be done to alleviate your symptoms and prevent consequences to your overall health.
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Treating Helicobacter Pylori Infection
If your stomach ulcer’s caused by a Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection, you’ll be given:
- a course of antibiotics
- a medication called a proton pump inhibitor
This is also recommended if it’s thought your stomach ulcer’s caused by a combination of an H. pylori infection and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
How Do Nsaids Cause A Peptic Ulcer
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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How Do Pain Relief Drugs Work
In a certain way, all pain is in your head. When we feel pain, it’s the result of an electrical signal being sent from the nerves in a part of your body to your brain.
But the whole process isn’t electrical. When tissue is injured , the cells release certain chemicals in response. These chemicals cause inflammation and amplify the electrical signal coming from the nerves. As a result, they increase the pain you feel.
Painkillers work by blocking the effects of these pain chemicals. The problem is that you can’t focus most pain relievers specifically on your headache or bad back. Instead, it travels through your whole body. This can cause some unexpected side effects.
Causes Of Stomach Ulcers
A stomach ulcer can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria is thought to be responsible for around 60 per cent of stomach ulcers and at least 90 per cent of duodenal ulcers.
- Certain medications which include aspirin or clopidogrel, taken regularly to help prevent heart attack or stroke, and drugs for arthritis. Anti-inflammatory medications are thought to cause around two fifths of stomach ulcers.
- Cancer stomach cancer can present as an ulcer, particularly in older people.
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Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers
A number of symptoms are associated with stomach ulcers. The severity of the symptoms depends on the severity of the ulcer.
The most common symptom is a burning sensation or pain in the middle of your abdomen between your chest and belly button. Typically, the pain will be more intense when your stomach is empty, and it can last for a few minutes to several hours.
Other common signs and symptoms of ulcers include:
- dull pain in the stomach
- weight loss
- heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the chest)
- pain that may improve when you eat, drink, or take antacids
- anemia, whose symptoms can include tiredness, shortness of breath, or paler skin
- dark, tarry stools
- vomit thats bloody or looks like coffee grounds
Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms of a stomach ulcer. Even though discomfort may be mild, ulcers can worsen if they arent treated. Bleeding ulcers can become life-threatening.