Stomach ulcers are sores that develop on the small intestine or lining of the stomach. It happens when the digestive acids (gastric acid) damage the stomach lining. The gastric acid creates open sores on your stomach lining that may lead to stomach pain or bleeding. If you experience ulcers in the stomach, you may have symptoms, which will be discussed in this post. A healthcare provider will diagnose your condition and recommend treatment methods to cure the ulcers. If you do not take treatment for ulcers, it will result in severe complications such as internal bleeding.
What is a stomach ulcer?
Stomach ulcers are commonly known as gastric ulcers. These are the painful sores that form on the stomach lining. The stomach lining includes glands that develop enzymes and acids, which help in digestion. These sores may also form on your duodenum, the beginning part of the small intestine, which leads to duodenum ulcers.
Stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers are the types of peptic ulcer disease. They are titled pepsin, one of the digestive juices that may present in the stomach and rarely enters your duodenum. The digestive juices result in peptic ulcer disease.
Peptic ulcers are any ulcers in which sores may form on your stomach and small intestines. Peptic ulcers develop due to the reduction in the thick layer of mucus (a slimy substance) that helps to prevent the stomach from digestive juices. When the digestive acids enter your stomach, this damages the tissues of your stomach lining, leading to an ulcer.
Symptoms of stomach ulcers
Many possible symptoms can be observed for stomach ulcers in people. The most frequent symptom is the pain in between your abdomen. You feel more severe pain when you have an empty stomach, and it can resist for at least several hours.
Following are the other signs and symptoms of ulcers, which include:
- Extreme stomach pain
- Losing weight
- Heartburn (An inflammation or burning sensation of the chest)
- Loses hunger due to pain
- Feeling full
- Nausea or vomiting
- Acid reflux
- Lack of ability to digest fatty foods
- Anemia (a condition in which the body does not produce enough red blood cells). Symptoms of anemia include breath difficulty, tiredness, or skin color changes to yellow.
- Releasing dark stools
- Blood in the vomiting or stools
You must see a consultant if you have these signs and symptoms. Ulcers may become worse if they are left untreated. You can schedule an e-visit with a doctor if your pain is still present in your stomach after using specific drugs or acid blockers.
What causes ulcers in the stomach?
The digestive system is covered with a mucous layer that prevents acid from entering your stomach. You will have an ulcer if high acid amounts go to your stomach or when the mucous layer reduces. The common causes of ulcers in your stomach include
- H.pylori infection. H.pylori is a common bacterial infection that may present inside the mucous layer. H.pylori bacterium often does not indicate any problems, but this may develop swelling or inflammation in the stomach’s inner layer that results in an ulcer. H.pylori may transfer from one person to another through physical contact.
- Excess use of NSAIDs. You may have inflammation or irritation if you take aspirin or specific prescribed painkiller medication, also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications are ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, ketoprofen, and others.
- Other Medications. Specific medication besides NSAIDs, including steroids, low-dose aspirin, risedronate (Actonel), anticoagulants, and others, can also lead to a high risk of developing ulcers.
How to diagnose stomach ulcers?
A healthcare provider may ask about your medical history and the symptoms of ulcers you have experienced. You may need to order an H.pylori infection test through the sample of your blood, stool, or breath test. You will need to take liquid and the provider will ask you to breathe into a bag. You will have higher carbon dioxide levels than the recommended ones.
Following are the other procedures that help to detect stomach ulcers:
- This test is used to observe the internal digestive system by collecting a tissue sample for examination. The endoscopy is conducted by inducing a thin tube from your throat to the stomach and duodenum. A small camera will be attached to the tube to see your digestive tract. A healthcare provider can use the tissue sample to diagnose symptoms of mucous damage, H.pylori infection, or internal bleeding.
- Imaging tests. These tests are used to monitor the stomach and small intestine internally, which include:
Upper GI X-ray exam. In this test, you may need to take barium, a thick white liquid. It covers the upper gastrointestinal tract so a provider can see the stomach and small intestines as X-rays images.
CT scan. A doctor may also use a CT scan to collect comprehensive information about your organs.
Treatment for stomach ulcers
The treatment depends on the extent and causes of ulcers. A healthcare provider may recommend medicines for ulcers in your stomach. You may ask your online provider what you need to take for treatment. If you experience a bleeding ulcer, your provider may advise you to visit any hospital so that you may receive treatment through endoscopy and IV ulcer medication.
Following are the medications that may include for the treatment of stomach ulcers:
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). If you have ulcers due to H.pylori infection, you may need to take antibiotics and specific drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs will stop the stomach cells from developing acid.
- Antacids. These are the commonly used medicines that do not require a prescription from a doctor. They will help to neutralize the acid present in your stomach.
- Histamine receptor blockers (H2 blockers). These help to decrease stomach acid by resisting the chemical that allows your body to develop it.
- Bismuth subsalicylate. It is another medicine that does not need a prescription, also called Pepto-Bismol. It covers and prevents ulcers from stomach acid.
A healthcare provider may use surgical treatment in very few cases of severe stomach ulcers. Surgery may have used to:
- Remove the whole ulcer
- Attach the artery which bleeds
- Collect tissue from the different areas of the intestines and repair it with the ulcer position.
- Breaking the nerve supply to the stomach for the development of stomach acid.
Prevention of stomach ulcers
The first step is to stop bacteria from spreading, which may result in ulcers in the stomach. Wash your hands using soap daily with water. Do clean your foods and cook them according to your needs.
You can take an online consultation from a provider if you want to stop or decrease the use of medications such as NSAIDs. Your provider will guide you about the recommended dose of medicines.
Stomach ulcers are one of the common diseases that can be treatable. Sometimes, it does not show symptoms but may lead to complications. The possible causes of ulcers in the stomach are the excessive use of NSAIDs or bacterial infection. You should consult an online doctor service if you need treatment for ulcers.