What Are The Symptoms Of A Stomach Ulcer
Symptoms vary from person to person, and some people may have no symptoms at all. Abdominal pain is common, and that associated with stomach ulcers tends to worsen after food. Other common symptoms include:
- Bloating or belching
Symptoms such as vomiting, severe pain or blood in the stools are rare with stomach ulcers and should be reported to your doctor.
Most ulcers occur in the first layer of the inner lining. A hole that goes all the way through is called a perforation and will cause severe pain and bleeding. It is a medical emergency.
Tip Sheet: Ulcers And Pain Relievers
Be cautious about taking over-the-counter pain relief drugs if you have an ulcer. Some can worsen your symptoms. These tips will help.
If you have an ulcer, you need to be very careful with over-the-counter pain medicines. Remember: No drug is risk-free. It is very important to discuss the use of over-the-counter drugs with your doctor, especially if you have an ulcer or other medical conditions. Here are some tips from the experts for using these medicines safely.
- Avoid Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs . If you have an ulcer, use of NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen could be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. A non-NSAID pain reliever, like acetaminophen, may be a safer choice. Your doctor can recommend appropriate alternatives.
- Take precautions. If you need to use an NSAID, always take it with milk or food to make it easier on your stomach. To prevent problems, your doctor might recommend:
- A prescription proton pump inhibitor
- High doses of prescription H2 receptor antagonists
- Cytotec, a drug to protect your stomach lining
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Stomach Ulcers
If and when you experience any of the symptoms described above, consult a physician immediately for proper diagnosis.Depending on the severity of your condition, you can choose the treatment you wish to follow in order to rectify the situation.If left undiagnosed and untreated, gastric ulcers can lead to the following complications:
- Internal bleeding
- Perforation or splitting open of the stomach lining, i.e., a hole or tear in the stomach wall
- Swelling or scarring that leads to intestinal blockage
You can get any of the following tests done for proper diagnosis of stomach ulcers: urea breath test, stool test, blood test, and gastroscopy or endoscopy.In case the damage to your stomach is not severe and does not require immediate surgical intervention or antibiotic treatment, given below are 10 home remedies that can help you get rid of stomach ulcers and repair your stomach lining.
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When To See A Doctor
Anyone who thinks they may have an ulcer in their stomach should consult their doctor. Any stomach symptoms that last for more than a few days or keep happening need evaluation and treatment.
A slow-bleeding ulcer can be signaled by symptoms of anemia, such as being tired and breathless. More serious bleeding is an urgent medical problem and can be signaled if blood is vomited up, or stools are black and sticky.
Perforation, or a hole in the stomach, is also an emergency. Without quick treatment, the wall of the stomach can become infected. Sudden stomach pain that gets worse can indicate perforation, and any signs of being very unwell with infection need treatment as soon as possible.
Bleeding Peptic Ulcer: Treatment
A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of your stomach or duodenum . Your ulcer is bleeding or at high risk of bleeding. This means that you need treatment right away. Treatment can include medicines. It may also include a procedure such as endoscopy, angiography, or surgery. Your provider will work with you to decide which treatments are best for you. Read on to learn more about each type of treatment.
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Can Stomach Ulcers Just Go Away
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.
Key Points About Stomach And Duodenal Ulcers In Children
Stomach and duodenal ulcers are open sores. They happen in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum.
Most ulcers are caused by an infection with Helicobacter pylori.
Treatment often includes antibiotics and medicines to block stomach acid production.
Without proper treatment, people with ulcers may have serious complications. But most people are cured with treatment.
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What Are Possible Complications Of Stomach And Duodenal Ulcers In A Child
Your child could have severe complications if his or her ulcer isnt treated well. The most common problems include:
Bleeding. An ulcer can harm blood vessels. This can cause bleeding.
Hole . An ulcer can wear a hole through the wall of the stomach or duodenum. Bacteria and partially digested food can spill through the opening into the abdominal cavity . This can cause peritonitis. This is inflammation of the abdominal cavity and wall.
Narrowing and blockage . Ulcers at the end of the stomach where the duodenum is attached can cause swelling and scarring. This can narrow or close the intestinal opening. This blockage can stop food from leaving the stomach and going into the small intestine. This can cause vomiting.
Stomach cancer. H. pylori infection increases the risk for stomach cancer later in life.
Stomach Ulcer Symptoms You Cant Ignore And How To Naturally Treat Them
May 20, 2019
Chances are that if you havent experienced one yourself, you at least know someone whos had a stomach ulcer at one point or another. Estimates show that about 500,000 new cases of peptic ulcers are reported each year in the U.S. alone, and at any given time about 5 million people are affected. In addition, one in 10 adults can expect to deal with painful ulcers at one point or another.
For many years, doctors thought that high amounts of stress alone could cause a stomach ulcer to form by increasing production of stomach acid. But then research emerged in the 1980s showing that frequent use of anti-inflammatory drugs , a poor lifestyle, and especially a type of bacterial infection caused by the strain Helicobacter pylori are the real culprits of the majority of ulcers.
Fortunately, according to an article published in The Lancet, prevalence of H. pylori infection and peptic ulcer diseases have become substantially less prevalent than they were two decades ago.
Wondering how to treat a stomach ulcer if youve already developed one? Below well cover much more about stomach ulcer treatments including medications, stress management and dietary changes.
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Duration Of Peptic Ulcers
Ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori heal when the bacteria is killed. The typical course of treatment includes two weeks of antibiotics along with acid-suppressing medicine. This is followed by an additional four to eight weeks of the acid-suppressing medicine alone.
Its possible for an ulcer to heal temporarily without antibiotics, but it will likely recur or another one will form nearby if the bacteria is not killed.
Peptic ulcers caused by medication usually heal shortly after you stop taking the medication. Doctors typically recommend taking antacids for two to six weeks to assist with healing and relieve pain.
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What Is A Duodenal Ulcer
A duodenal ulcer is a sore that forms in the lining of the duodenum. Your duodenum is the first part of your small intestine, the part of your digestive system that food travels through straight after it leaves your stomach.
You can get an ulcer in your stomach as well as in your duodenum. Stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers are both types of peptic ulcers. If you have either of these, you have whatâs called âpeptic ulcer diseaseâ.
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How Are Stomach Ulcers Diagnosed
Diagnosis and treatment will depend on your symptoms and the severity of your ulcer. To diagnose a stomach ulcer, your doctor will review your medical history along with your symptoms and any prescription or over-the-counter medications youre taking.
To rule out H. pylori infection, a blood, stool, or breath test may be ordered. With a breath test, youll be instructed to drink a clear liquid and breathe into a bag, which is then sealed. If H. pylori is present, the breath sample will contain higher-than-normal levels of carbon dioxide.
Other tests and procedures used to diagnose stomach ulcers include:
- Barium swallow: You drink a thick white liquid that coats your upper gastrointestinal tract and helps your doctor see your stomach and small intestine on X-rays.
- Endoscopy : A thin, lighted tube is inserted through your mouth and into the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. This test is used to look for ulcers, bleeding, and any tissue that looks abnormal.
- Endoscopic biopsy: A piece of stomach tissue is removed so it can be analyzed in a lab.
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.
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Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
You may not have symptoms straightaway with an ulcer. Youre more likely to have a so-called silent ulcer if you are male, older, smoke, or are taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.
If you do have symptoms, a common one is abdominal pain or discomfort. You may also have pain in the middle of your back. If you have a duodenal ulcer , the pain tends to come on a couple of hours after a meal. Generally, it goes away when you eat again. You may also have pain that wakes you up at night when you have an empty stomach.
A gastric ulcer generally causes pain shortly after eating. Lying flat may relieve it. An oesophageal ulcer may cause abdominal or lower chest pain and make it difficult to swallow.
Indigestion is often a sign of a peptic ulcer. You may:
- feel or be sick
- have heartburn when the contents of your stomach go back up your oesophagus
Some symptoms may mean you have peptic ulcer complications. Or they can be caused by another medical condition, including cancer. You should see your GP urgently if you:
- are losing weight without dieting
- see blood in your vomit or your poo looks black and tar-like
- are very tired, as this may be caused by anaemia
- have trouble swallowing
- feel full soon after youve started eating
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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What Are The Risks For People With Ulcers
Why do painkillers increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems? The same chemicals that amplify pain which some pain medicines block also help maintain the protective lining of the stomach and intestines. When a painkiller stops these chemicals from working, the digestive tract becomes more vulnerable to damage from gastric acids.
For people with ulcers, the risky pain relievers are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. They include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and ketoprofen, the active ingredients in medicines such as Bufferin, Advil, and Aleve.
Other pain relievers may be less dangerous. Acetaminophen the active ingredient in Tylenol works differently and poses a much lower risk of GI problems. However, like any drug, it does have side effects of its own. You shouldnt take any over-the-counter painkiller for more than 10 days without your health care providers approval.
The risks from NSAIDs are quite serious. Studies show that people who use NSAIDs are about three times as likely to have gastrointestinal bleeding. Even at low doses, NSAIDs can make mild ulcers much worse.
Aspirin has additional risks. Aspirin can help prevent blood clotting, which is why it helps people at risk of heart attacks and strokes, says Cryer. But in people with ulcers, it can lead to more serious gastrointestinal bleeding.
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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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.
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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History Of Ulcer Causes
Ulcers have a unique and interesting history when it comes to their suspected causes. For decades, stomach ulcers were considered to be psychosomatic, meaning a high-stress lifestyle was to blame. At the time doctors started identifying high rates of ulcers in hard-working businessmen who smoked a lot of cigarettes and were likely sleep-deprived, and then animal studies further confirmed stress-triggered ulcers. Rats producing high amounts of stomach acid experienced a decrease in stomach ulcer symptoms when researchers fed them antacids, so a connection was then drawn between ulcers, chronic stress and an increase in stomach acid, which changed ulcer treatment approaches forever.
A bacterium called Helicobacter pylori was then discovered that seemed to be present in nearly everyone suffering from ulcers. It was also found to run in families and was connected to other digestive disorders, including stomach cancer. In patients given medications/antibiotics to kill H. pylori, ulcers were often resolved at least for a period of time.
However, today its more common to treat ulcers using less risky acid-reducing drugs in combination with lifestyle and dietary changes, rather than prescribing antibiotics to kill H. pylori, which can come with complications and lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics used to combat H. pylori can work short term to lower the bacteria, but dont seem to keep it from returning without other interventions.