Frequently Asked Questions about Stomach Ulcers – Discover the Answers Here!
What is a stomach ulcer?
A stomach ulcer is a sore that develops on the stomach’s inner lining. It is a type of peptic ulcer disease, including ulcers in the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.
What are the symptoms of a stomach ulcer?
The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning pain in the upper abdomen. The pain may worsen when you are hungry or have an empty stomach and may improve after eating or drinking. Other symptoms of a stomach ulcer may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
- Black or bloody stools
What causes stomach ulcers?
The two most common causes of stomach ulcers are
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection: H. pylori is a type of bacteria that can live in the stomach lining. It can cause inflammation and ulcers.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs include ibuprofen and aspirin. They can irritate the stomach lining and cause ulcers, especially when taken for long periods.
Other factors that can increase your risk of developing a stomach ulcer include:
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
How are stomach ulcers diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms to diagnose a stomach ulcer. They may also order tests such as:
- Upper endoscopy: An upper endoscopy is a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end is inserted through your mouth and into your stomach and duodenum. This allows the doctor to look for ulcers and other abnormalities.
- Biopsy: During an upper endoscopy, the doctor may take a small tissue sample from the stomach or duodenum for biopsy. This helps to rule out other conditions, such as cancer.
How are stomach ulcers treated?
The treatment for a stomach ulcer will depend on the underlying cause. If the ulcer is caused by H. pylori infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. If NSAIDs cause the ulcer, the doctor may recommend that you stop taking them or switch to a different type of medication.
Other medications that may be used to treat stomach ulcers include:
- Acid blockers: Acid blockers reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces. This can help to relieve pain and promote healing.
- H-2 blockers: H-2 blockers are a type of acid blocker that is available over the counter.
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): PPIs are a more vital type of acid blocker available by prescription.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat a stomach ulcer. This is usually only recommended if the ulcer is severe or does not respond to other treatments.
What are the complications of stomach ulcers?
Complications of this disease may include:
- Bleeding: Stomach ulcers can bleed. This can be a serious complication, especially if the bleeding is severe.
- Perforation: A perforated ulcer is an ulcer that has burst through the stomach or duodenum. This can be a life-threatening complication and requires immediate surgery.
- Pyloric stenosis: Pyloric stenosis is a narrowing of the pyloric outlet, the opening between the stomach and the small intestine. This can make it difficult for food to pass from the stomach into the small intestine.
How can I prevent stomach ulcers?
You can prevent your stomach disease
- Avoid smoking
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Take NSAIDs as directed by your doctor
- Manage stress
- Eat a healthy diet
If you have any stomach ulcer symptoms or are experiencing any signs or symptoms of them, see Dr. Ashok Acharyha specialist at Dhanwantaree. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent difficulties and promote recovery.