Health problems can overshadow other aspects of your life. An ulcer is one of the numerous health problems people live with. They are painful sores found in the lining of the stomach (known as a gastric ulcer) and small intestine (known as a duodenal ulcer). Generally, ulcers are often called peptic (that is, ulcers that affect both the stomach and small intestine). But what do you really know about stomach ulcers? Here is everything you need to know about a stomach ulcer.
What Is A Stomach Ulcer?
Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers are painful sores in the stomach lining. they usually occur when the thick layer of the mucus that protects the stomach from digestive juices, is reduced. The digestive acids eat away at the tissues that line the stomach, which causes the ulcer. Although stomach ulcers may be easily cured, they can become severe without proper treatment.
What Causes Stomach Ulcers?
Stomach ulcers are mostly caused by an infection with the bacterium known as Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori). It is usually also caused by long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen. Studies have shown that a rare condition known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers as well. It does this by increasing the production of acid in the body. The syndrome is, however, suspected to cause less than a percent of all peptic ulcers.
What Are the Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers?
Several symptoms are associated with stomach ulcers. The severity of the symptom is also dependent on the severity of the ulcer.
The most common symptom of stomach ulcers is chronic pain in the abdomen (between the chest and belly button), usually like a burning or gnawing feeling. In most cases, the pain is intense when the stomach is empty, and this usually lasts for a few minutes to several hours.
Other common signs and symptoms include weight loss, dull pain in the stomach, lack of appetite because of pain, nausea, bloating, burping, heartburn, anemia, tarry stools, and so on. You should report to your doctor if you notice any symptoms of stomach ulcers.
How Are Ulcers Diagnosed and Treated?
Diagnosis and treatments are largely dependent on the symptoms, and severity of your ulcer. In other words, your doctor will treat your ulcer, based on what is causing it. To diagnose a stomach ulcer, your doctor will have to review your medical history, alongside your symptoms, and eventually prescribe some medications.
Also, treatment varies, depending on the cause of your ulcer. Also, most ulcers can be treated with a prescription from your doctor, however, in rare cases, surgery may be required. This is why it is important to promptly treat an ulcer when you notice any symptom. Ensure you talk to your doctor and discuss a treatment plan. Although the discomfort is may be mild, ulcers can worsen if they aren’t treated. Bleeding ulcers, especially, can become life-threatening.
What May Help Prevent Stomach Ulcers?
To prevent ulcers, you must first prevent the spread of bacteria that might cause a stomach ulcer. Practice good hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water regularly. Also, maintain a healthy environment. Ensure you properly clean all of your food, and ensure you cook it thoroughly.