Have you been quite ill lately? Might you have symptoms that make you think you might have stomach ulcers? Read through this article to clear or certify your assumptions.
The stomach is a muscular organ in the digestive tract involved in the second phase of digestion after chewing. This organ is lined with mucus to protect it from acidic digestive juices. Being vital organ indigestion, it is susceptible to many diseases that cause immense pain if left untreated.
This article will discuss stomach ulcers. Being one of the many diseases that affect the stomach once left untreated might cause significant damage to the stomach wall.
What is a stomach ulcer?
Stomach ulcers are excruciating open sores that develop in the lining of the stomach. This ulcer is of the peptic ulcer type, affecting both the stomach and the small intestines.
This type of disease occurs when the mucus in the stomach lining is eroded. The mucus acts as a protective layer against digestive juices. When this mucus is eroded, it makes the stomach wall susceptible to the effects of the acidic juices. These juices then eat away at the stomach tissues that line the stomach wall, causing an ulcer.
In as much as the stomach ulcers are painful, they are easily curable. However, if left untreated, they can become severe.
Causes of stomach ulcers
There are two leading causes of a stomach ulcer, they include;
- Bacterial infection (H.Pylori)
H.Pylori is a bacteria that usually live in the mucus layer of the stomach lining. This bacteria doesn’t usually cause any problems, but its overgrowth causes inflammation of the stomach’s inner layer, resulting in an ulcer.
- Regular use of certain painkillers.
Some over-the-counter prescription medicine, usually called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can inflame the stomach lining. Some of these NSAIDs are; ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
Symptoms of stomach ulcers
Several symptoms are associated with stomach ulcers, but it all depends on the severity of the disease as severe symptoms are resultant of severe infection.
- Burning Pain In Your Abdomen
When you feel a burning sensation between your chest and your belly button, especially when you are hungry, it is a sign of an ulcer in your stomach. You will mostly feel the pain more intensely when you are hungry than when you are full. This pain can last from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
The pain occurs when the digestive juices in the stomach come into contact with the open sore. As much as the digestive juices are designed to assist digestion, excess production makes the pain worse because it creates painful sores in the stomach.
To curb the pain, take an antacid if the pain gets worse. This will help alleviate some of the burning sensations. Though this will not cure you, it will help you feel a lot better.
Vomiting blood is another clear indication that you are suffering from stomach ulcers.
When you go through such a scary thing, seek immediate medical attention. Don’t sit around and presume that you will be okay. Having ulcers makes you vomit something brownish, similar to coffee grinds instead of the bright red color of the blood. Ensure that you drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration.
- Feeling Nauseous
If you are vomiting, then chances are you have already been feeling nauseous for a while. During most mornings, the urge to vomit will be strongest but It will most likely subside once the vomiting episodes begin.
- Dark Colored Stool
An excellent way to tell if you might have stomach ulcers is from your stool.
If you notice that your stool is exceptionally dark in color or even black when you use the restroom, chances are you are right about what is ailing you. If this is the case, ensure that you visit a doctor immediately.
Bloating refers to a swollen feeling in the stomach immediately after eating. This discomfort may sometimes lead to pain and a stuffed, tight, or full feeling in the abdominal region. Making the stomach distended, stiff and painful.
If the ulcer is located at the end of the stomach where it attaches to the duodenum, the scarring it causes may eventually narrow the opening to the duodenum.
Having this scar tissue in your stomach leads to bloating. Because of the malfunction of the stomach opening, food doesn’t move through the way it should. This makes the gas build up quickly, leading to bloating.
- Loss of appetite
Stomach ulcers cause a lot of pain. This pain may make you avert food. Your loss of appetite may be more psychological than physical. However, an infection in your tummy can make you stay away from food. Try taking a multi-vitamin to boost your appetite so that you don’t end up losing weight.
You can suffer from anemia but not have stomach ulcers at all.
On the other hand, if you have already been diagnosed with a stomach ulcer and you are experiencing fatigue, dizziness, or paleness, this could be because you are now also suffering from anemia on top of your ulcer.
Anemia is usually an opportunistic illness that arises from stomach ulcers. Therefore, it can be challenging to use it as a diagnostic sign for stomach ulcers. It occurs because you might have lost a significant amount of blood from the bleeding your ulcer is doing.
- Acid Reflux
Acid reflux occurs when the content from your stomach moves up the esophagus. Most of the time, this content contains the acidic digestive juices in the stomach.
This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter cannot close all the way or opens too frequently making the stomach acid move up into the esophagus.
Since the esophagus sphincter prevents backflow into the esophagus, stomach ulcers interfere with this process, causing the muscles to be dysfunctional, leading to acute reflux.
At times the acid travels back up to the back of the throat, causing severe heartburn. Some people complain of a bitter taste at the back of their throat. This pain and pressure caused by heartburn usually last up to an hour or more.
You should take an antiacid to try and control this pain as you continue with the medication to cure the ulcers.
- General discomfort
Having a stomach ulcer makes it very hard to do things such as eating and day-to-day activities without the burning pain in your stomach. Instead of feeling better after a meal, many people may be uncomfortable because of irritation to the ulcer.
- Increased Indigestion
Stomach ulcers can cause gas pain and following hiccupping meals. Burning in the throat can be a symptom of an ulcer as well.
- Weight loss
Unintended weight loss is one of the acute, symptoms of a stomach ulcer. You should not ignore it.
If you notice an unexplained weight loss when you aren’t actively trying to lose weight, take that as a red flag. If the weight loss does not come about because of diet, exercise, or lifestyle changes, seek immediate medical attention.
Since ulcer makes eating painful, hence many patients with ulcers avoid meals. This decrease in appetite consequently leads to weight loss.
Peptic ulcers can significantly affect eating patterns and how the body can absorb essential vitamins and nutrients, therefore causing weight loss.
Treatment of stomach ulcers
Treating stomach ulcers depends on their cause. The good news is that a doctor’s prescription usually clears the ulcer. In severe cases, surgical treatment might be the option.
You must begin treatment immediately after you find out that you have a stomach ulcer.
There are two main kinds of treatment plans for stomach ulcers;
Non- surgical treatment
This is the most common form of treatment for stomach ulcers. If the cause of your ulcer is H.Pylori, finding the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic and a drug called proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s). These drugs inhibit the production of acid in the stomach.
Other treatment and preventative measures that the doctor will prescribe are;
- Advised to stop the use of all NSAID’s
- You are advised to take more probiotics to aid in killing H.Pylori.
Severe stomach ulcers may end up being treated surgically. This happens in rare cases, but for recurrent and non-healing sores, surgery might be the only option.
The surgical process involves the removal of the entire ulcer and patching it up with borrowed tissue from the intestines. Afterward, the nerve ending producing acid is usually cut, inhibiting acid production.
Might you have a stomach ulcer?
From our findings, it is evident that a stomach ulcer is not something we can ignore. However, some symptoms resemble other diseases, while some, such as acid reflux, clearly indicate a stomach ulcer.
Ensure that you visit the best gastroenterologist in Dubai if you think you might suffer from a stomach ulcer. Early diagnosis will lead to early treatment. From this article, you can now be able to find out whether you might be suffering from a stomach ulcer or not.