Causes And Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers & How To Treat Them?
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Are you suffering from heartburn?
Are you suffering from a dull or burning stomach ache?
Have you been confirmed with open sores on the stomach or intestinal mucosa?
Don’t worry that this is the most common symptom of Stomach ulcers. Then this blog is essential for you to provided by Dr Rohan P. Reddy from Sunshine Hyderabad Hospital to know about stomach ulcers, Causes of stomach ulcers, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment.
What is Stomach Ulcers:
Stomach ulcers are an open wound that develops on the inner lining of the stomach and in the upper part of the small intestine. The symptom that is most common with stomach ulcers is abdominal pain. Stomach ulcers occur when the lining that protects the gastric mucosa from stomach acid is damaged.
Peptic Ulcers Include:
- Stomach ulcers that occur inside the stomach, and
- Duodenal ulcers that occur inside of the small intestine (duodenum)
A stomach pain that has burning sensation is the most common symptom. The pain most often:
- Stop when you eat or take some antacids
- It comes and goes in a few days or weeks or months.
- Starts between meals or at night time, mostly when the stomach is stomach empty
- It lasts for minutes to hours
What Causes Stomach Ulcers?
Stomach ulcers occur when the acid in the digestive tract eats the inner surface of the stomach or small intestine. Acid can cause painful open sores that can bleed. Stomach ulcers occur when the acids that help you digest food damage the stomach wall or duodenum.
The most common cause is a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori. Another is the continued use of NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Feeling Stress and eating spicy foods do not cause ulcers, but can worsen it.
Ulcers are Usually Caused By:
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection: Bacteria Helicobacter pylori usually lives in the mucous layer, which covers and protects the tissues lining the stomach and small intestine. Often, H. pylori do not cause problems but can cause inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach, which causes ulcers. It is not clear how H. pylori infection spreads. This bacteria can be transmitted from person to person through close contacts, such as kissing. People can infect with H. pylori from food and water.
How Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection Cause Stomach Ulcer:
H. pylori is a helically shaped bacterium that can cause gastric ulcer disease and damage the mucosa that protects the stomach and duodenal layers. After H. pylori damage the mucosa, strong stomach acids can attack sensitive mucous membranes. Together, stomach acid and H. pylori irritate the stomach or duodenal mucosa and cause stomach ulcers.
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Stomach ulcer is more common in older people who often take this painkiller or in people who use this type of medications for osteoarthritis. Use of certain painkillers regularly, intake of aspirin and over-the-counter painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can inflame or irritate the stomach lining and small intestine mucosa. These medications include ibuprofen or aspirin, especially if taken for a long time or in high doses
How NSAIDs Cause Stomach Ulcer?
To understand how NSAIDs cause stomach ulcers, it is essential to know how NSAIDs work. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain, fever and inflammation or swelling.
Each contains two enzymes that produce chemicals in body cells that increase pain, inflammation and fever. NSAIDs block or reduce the number of enzymes your body produces. However, another type of chemical is provided with one of the enzymes that protect the gastric mucosa from the release of stomach acid, and that control bleeding. When NSAIDs reduce or block the amount of this enzyme, NSAIDs also increase the risk of stomach ulcers.
- A rare disease known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers and increase body acid production. It is believed that this syndrome causes less than 1 percent of all gastric ulcers.
How do Zollinger-Ellison syndrome Cause Stomach Ulcer:
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a rare condition that occurs in the pancreas and duodenum. The tumour secretes large amounts of gastrin, a hormone that causes the stomach to produce large quantities of acid. Excessive acid causes stomach ulcers in the duodenum and upper intestine.
- There is little evidence that stress or certain foods worsen stomach ulcers.
The digestive tract is covered with a layer of mucus which usually protects against acid. However, if the acid increases or the amount of mucus decreases, you can suffer from ulcers.
Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers:
Symptoms of stomach ulcers are many. The severity of symptoms depends on the severity of the ulcer.
The most common symptom of an ulcer is a burning sensation in the stomach between the chest and navel. Usually, the pain gets worse when your stomach is empty and can last for several minutes to several hours.
- The classic symptoms of peptic ulcer are indigestion, also called dyspepsia.
- Poor digestion causes pain or discomfort in the stomach. These symptoms can be confused with heartburn.
Other common symptoms of ulcers include:
- Dull stomach ache
- Weight loss
- Won’t eat properly because of pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Feeling easily full
- Bloating, burning in your stomach
- Heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest
- Pain that can be improved by eating, drinking or taking antacids
- Anaemia whose symptoms can be fatigue, shortness of breath or pale skin
- Dark, tarry stools
- Vomiting looks bloody or like coffee grounds
Talk to a doctor if you have signs of an ulcer. Although discomfort may be mild, sores can make worse if left untreated. Bleeding ulcers can be life-threatening.
Even if symptoms are mild, you may suffer from heartburn. Consult a doctor to discuss symptoms. Without treatment, stomach ulcers can get worse — Dr Rohan P. Reddy from Sunshine Hyderabad Hospital.
Diagnosis of Stomach Ulcers:
Diagnosis and treatment depend on the symptoms and the severity of your ulcer. To diagnose a gastric ulcer, your doctor will review your medical history along with its symptoms and prescription or over-the-counter medicines that you use.
To determine H. pylori infection, blood, stool, or breath tests can be done. In a breath test, you are instructed to drink clear liquid and breathe into the bag, which is then sealed. If H. pylori are present, the breath sample contains more carbon dioxide than usual.
Other tests and methods for the diagnosis of stomach ulcers include:
- Barium swallow: Drink thick white fluid (barium) that covers your upper digestive tract and help your doctor to see the clear image of the stomach and small intestine in X-rays.
- Endoscopy: A thin, lighted tube inserted through your mouth, into your stomach. the tube reaches the first part of the small intestine. This test is used to look for ulcers, bleeding and abnormal tissue.
- Endoscopic biopsy: A piece of stomach tissue taken for analysis in a laboratory.
When should you see a doctor?
See your doctor right away if:
- Feel weak or faint
- Having difficulty breathing
- If you have blood vomiting or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- if Having red blood in your stool or black stools
- Suddenly if there is a sharp stomach ache that did not go away
- These symptoms can indicate that an ulcer has caused more severe problems.
Treatment For Stomach Ulcers:
Stomach ulcers can get worse if left untreated. Treatment may include stomach acid-lowering drugs or antibiotics to kill H. pylori. Antacids and milk can not cure heartburn. Smoking and avoiding alcohol can help. Surgery may be needed if your ulcers do not heal.
Treatment depends on the cause of your heartburn. Most ulcers can treat by prescription, but in rare cases, surgery may need.
It is important to treat an ulcer immediately. Talk to a doctor about treatment plans. If you have an active bleeding ulcer, you may be hospitalized for intensive endoscopy and IV treatment. You may also need a blood transfusion.
If H. pylori cause your stomach ulcers, you need antibiotics and drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPI blocks stomach cells that produce acid.
Our doctor will give you antibiotics to treat H. pylori infection. You should take it for two to three weeks. A doctor may also recommend triple therapy. This is a combination of antibiotics and antacids (Pepto-Bismol). A doctor may suggest medicine to reduce stomach acid. You may need to take it for up to 8 weeks. Various other drugs can be used to treat ulcers.
In addition to this treatment, your doctor may also recommend:
- H2 receptor blockers (drugs that also inhibit acid production)
- Stop use of all NSAIDs
- Follow-up endoscopy
- Probiotics (useful bacteria that may play a role in killing H. pylori)
- Bismuth additive
Ulcer symptoms can quickly disappear with treatment. Even if your symptoms go away, you should continue to take medication as prescribed by your doctor. This is very important in H. pylori infection to ensure that all bacteria are eliminated from the body.
In sporadic cases, complicated gastric ulcers must be operated. This might apply to sores that:
- Back again and again
- Don’t heal
- Prevents food from flowing from the stomach to the small intestine
- tear through the stomach
Surgery May Include:
- Removal of all ulcers
- Removal of tissue from other parts of the gut and attaches to the location of the ulcer site
- Binding off a bleeding artery
- To reduce stomach acid production, cutting the nerve supply to the stomach.
If you are suffering from an ulcer, then avoid some foods that make ulcer pain worse that includes avoiding spicy foods, alcohol and smoking. If you are a candidate to take aspirin or ibuprofen for chronic pain, talk to a doctor. A doctor may suggest an alternative. Keep your balanced diet. Try eating less, frequent meals when you’re feeling pain in the stomach.
Stomach ulcers are common conditions in older age. There are various modes of diagnostic treating to detect the presence of a stomach ulcer. Identifying the stomach ulcer early can treat ulcers quickly. Treatment options are available for treating stomach ulcers; the treating doctor would choose the right combination of treatment modalities after assessing the stomach ulcers.
Please schedule an appointment with our Medical gastroenterologist Dr Rohan P. Reddy from Sunshine Hyderabad Hospital for any further queries you may have in this regard. You can reach us at 04044550000.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man. Sunshine has now become one of the best hospitals for many treatments including Orthopedic, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Trauma and Neurology.