Stomach gastric ulcers: Causes, symptoms and treatment
- Posted on- Jun 29, 2015
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Increasingly larger numbers of people are diagnosed with digestive disorders these days, most of them requiring hospitalization and careful monitoring. Ulcer is a very common digestive disorder, involving inflammation at certain levels of the gastrointestinal tract. Gastric ulcer involves a breach in the tissue that surrounds the stomach, while duodenal ulcer involves a breach in the tissue that surrounds the duodenum. Ulcer may also occur at the level of the oesophagus or other organs of the gastrointestinal tract.
Gastric ulcer occurs due to excessive secretion of hydrochloric acid and pepsin, which eventually damage the protective tissue that surrounds the stomach. The presence of bacteria called helicobacter pylori also contributes to developing gastric ulcer. Furthermore, the ulcer is aggravated by the misuse of certain anti-inflammatory medicines, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Physical stress and insufficiencies can facilitate the development of gastric ulcer.
Symptoms of stomach gastric ulcer
Since the symptoms of gastric ulcers are very similar to the symptoms of a majority of digestive ailments, there’s often a delay in treatment, which in turn, causes the person’s condition to deteriorate further. Thus, having a basic understanding of the causes and symptoms of stomach ulcers will help to rule out a misdiagnosis and the subsequent delay in the treatment. An affected individual is likely to encounter the following symptoms:
- Dull, aching pain
- Burning sensation
- Sudden loss of appetite
- Sour taste in the mouth
- Weight loss
The burning sensation and pain that the affected person experiences, usually occurs right after a meal. The duration for which the pain is felt could range from minutes to hours.
Complications related to stomach gastric ulcers
At times, symptoms of a serious nature may start surfacing in the later stages due to the extensive damage caused to the stomach lining. These symptoms include:
- Excruciating pain in the stomach
- Vomiting blood of a dark brown colour
- Blood in stool
Risk Factors for stomach gastric ulcers
Treatment for stomach gastric ulcers
- Antibiotics are prescribed when the ulcers form due to an infection by helicobacter pylori. The dosage will vary, depending on the severity of the infection.
- At the same time, the gastroenterologist will also prescribe medication to reduce the production of stomach acid so as to ensure speedy recovery. Proton pumps inhibitors and histamine-2 blockers refer to the class of drugs that decrease the production of stomach acid.
- Sucralfate refers to a cytoprotective agent that forms a barrier or coating over the ulcer, thereby speeding up the healing process.
Treatment will continue for two to three weeks. However, it will take a couple of months for the person to get cured completely. In severe cases, when there’s bleeding or perforation in the stomach wall, surgery may be recommended.
Precautionary measures for stomach gastric ulcers
- Avoid smoking and consumption of alcohol.
- Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Refrain from consuming spicy food. Many people believe that stomach ulcers are caused as a result of eating spicy food, which is not at all true. Spicy food can aggravate an already existing ulcer though.
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria could spread due to consumption of contaminated food and water, so take the necessary precautionary measures.
Don't resort to self-medication. If you choose a wrong drug, you will just end up worsening your condition. While antacids are effective in providing relief from pain by raising the level of pH in the stomach, you need to understand that this relief is temporary. So, don’t take antacids unless recommended by a doctor.
Contact your gastroenterologist
if you have been experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms. Follow the guidelines regarding the frequency and dosage of the drug. This will help in speedy recovery.