Ulcers are lesions on the lining of your stomach or small intestine that are caused by acid reflux. It is also possible that you have sores on your esophagus (throat). Most ulcers are found in the liver. Duodenal ulcers are the medical term for these ulcers. Gastric ulcers are the medical term for stomach ulcers. Esophageal ulcers are ulcers that develop in the throat or esophagus.
Symptoms of an ulcer
Among the most common ulcer symptoms are:
- Between meals or at night, a feeling of discomfort (duodenal ulcer)
- When you eat or drink, you feel pain (gastric ulcer)
- Pain in your stomach that keeps you up at night.
- Feeling full quickly
- Feeling of discomfort in your stomach due to a buildup of gas, pain, or discomfort
- One day, it’s gone the next.
- For a few minutes or a few hours, the pain is unbearable.
Bleeding ulcers occur when an ulcer is ripped open. The following are possible side effects:
- Vomiting blood is a common occurrence.
- Astonishing weight loss
- Bleeding stools that appear to be black
- Inflammation of the backside
Risk factors for stomach ulcers
A peptic ulcer is more likely to develop if you have a few risk factors.
- In persons who have previously been infected with H. pylori, smoking is very dangerous.
- having a few drinks
- a history of stomach ulcers in one’s family
People who take NSAIDs are more likely to have an ulcer if they do the following things:
- Are above the age of seventy
- Take heavy dosages of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- The answer is yes.
- Have a history of ulcer disease in my own body
If you have a peptic ulcer, you can improve your lifestyle.
Smoking can develop or worsen peptic ulcers. Quitting smoking may ease your symptoms. Cutting less on alcohol may also help reduce the risk of peptic ulcers.
Obesity might exacerbate symptoms, so stay at a healthy weight. Salt is linked to stomach ulcers, therefore avoid salty meals. This involves choosing low-salt processed meals, minimizing salty items, and not salting your food at the table.
Avoid ‘triggers’ that exacerbate your symptoms. Keeping a food and symptom record (PDF, 1.36 MB) might help you find them. Common triggers include:
- spicy foods
- fatty foods
You may have been advised to eat bland or milky meals. Dairy products should be avoided since they may exacerbate symptoms. Eating fewer meals and eating three hours before bedtime may help.
Complications of peptic ulcers
In most cases, treating a peptic ulcer works well and problems are rare. Without treatment or if your ulcer goes untreated for a long time, problems might occur. The risk increases with age and the use of anticoagulants such as aspirin or warfarin. Among the issues:
This is especially true if your ulcer is caused by NSAIDs. It occurs when an ulcer erodes underlying arteries or veins (blood vessels). If your ulcer bleeds,
vomit blood – brilliant crimson or dark like coffee grounds feces – black and sticky
long-term blood loss can cause iron-deficiency anemia.
Perforation occurs when an ulcer eats through the stomach or duodenal lining. Perforation occurs when an ulcer breaks through the stomach or duodenum wall, producing abdominal lining irritation (peritonitis) and infection. Your stomach will be achy. If this happens, get to the hospital since you may need emergency surgery.
Obstruction occurs when food cannot flow from the stomach into the duodenum. Pyloric stenosis occurs when scar tissue forms around an ulcer. Obstruction can:
- feeling sick
- being sick after eating
- weight loss
Depending on the reason, the blockage can be addressed with endoscopy, PPIs, or surgery.
Stomach ulcer diagnosis
Doctors diagnose stomach ulcers based on medical history and physical exams. An upper endoscopy is possible. A tiny camera allows the gastroenterologist to see within your stomach.
H. pylori testing in the lab is also possible. It might be a blood, stool, or breath test. (Learn about H. pylori tests)
Stomach ulcer treatment
Antibiotics may be required if the ulcer is caused by H. pylori.
Medications for therapy include:
- Proton-pump inhibitors:
- Histamine blockers:
Medications like Tums or Maalox might also help relieve discomfort.
Sucralfate gives a protective covering to the ulcer surface as it heals.
Living with an ulcer
Avoid things that exacerbate your ulcer discomfort if you have one. You should avoid hot meals, alcohol, and smoking in order to avoid this. Consult your physician if you need to use aspirin or ibuprofen on a regular basis to manage your persistent pain symptoms. He or she may come up with a different solution. Maintain a well-balanced diet. When you’re in discomfort, eat modest, frequent meals.