Stomach ulcers (also called peptic ulcers) are open sores on the inside lining of the stomach. They can also form on the upper part of the small intestine. These are called duodenal ulcers. Before posing the question, “What is the way to cure a stomach ulcer?”, it is best to understand how they develop.
Causes of Stomach Ulcers
In their youth, many people are infected with a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This bacteria strikes in the stomach, and goes mostly undetected. In fact, H. pylori is present in over half the world’s population. If you don’t get sick from it, you probably don’t even know you have it.
A physician will likely test for H. pylori when a person gets a stomach ulcer. If H. pylori is not found to be the culprit, long-term use or overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could be the cause. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) interfere with the stomach’s gastric acid defenses. Though these acids are required to digest and process food, they can burn open sores into a compromised stomach lining. This is an ulcer.
Contrary to popular belief, neither stress nor spicy foods cause stomach ulcers. Although, it is possible they can worsen an ulcer and elevate its ensuing symptoms. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can also contribute to stomach ulcers.
Recognizing Symptoms and Stomach Ulcer Treatment
The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is pain. It usually starts as a mild uncomfortable feeling. If left untreated this pain can become a sharp, burning sensation. When let loose, acids wreak havoc on a stomach lining’s open sores. This can give a person an unsatisfying feeling of fullness or bloating. Excessive belching can occur, as can a sudden intolerance for fatty foods. Other signs to look out for are frequent heartburn and nausea.
Having an empty stomach can make the pain even worse. So to temporarily counteract the painful effects of a stomach ulcer, many people will eat apples, pears, oatmeal, and other high-fiber foods. This can lower the acid levels in your stomach, thereby dulling some of the pain.
Acid-reducing medications such as esomeprazole (Nexium) can also temporarily alleviate stomach ulcer pain.
When To Worry About A Stomach Ulcer
It is possible to have a stomach ulcer and not have any symptoms at all. For this reason, it’s advisable to eat fiber-rich foods frequently. Not only can they alleviate pain resulting from a stomach ulcer, they are also known to help prevent them in the first place.
In more extreme cases stomach ulcers may cause severe symptoms. If you experience any of the following you should seek immediate medical attention.
- Vomiting or vomiting blood
- Dark blood in stools, or stools that are black or tarry
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Persistent nausea
- Unexplained, sudden weight loss
- Drastic changes to your appetite
- Rapid pulse
- Sudden, sharp, and/or severe, persistent abdominal pain
Complications of A Stomach Ulcer
An ulcer essentially eats a hole through your stomach lining. This is referred to as a perforation. If left untreated, stomach ulcers only worsen, causing internal bleeding. Stomach ulcers can also be responsible for blocking food from passing through the digestive tract. In worse case scenarios, stomach ulcers bring an increased risk of inflammation, scarring, and even gastric cancer.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a stomach ulcer, don’t wait for them to worsen. The staff at BASS Medical can help diagnose and treat your condition. At Bass Medical, we consider each patient on an individual basis. Contact us today to discuss your symptoms and schedule an appointment.