Open sores are formed on the inner lining of the stomach and this condition is called peptic ulcer. For more than half of the patients taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the main cause for developing peptic ulcer and it can also be caused by H. Pylori bacteria. It can be identified by dull or throbbing pain in the upper abdomen. Ulcer on the stomach can be treated with antibiotics. In rare cases, peptic ulcer can cause perforation on the stomach and bleeding. Peptic ulcer can affect the inner lining of your stomach, esophagus or small intestine. Gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer and esophageal ulcer are part of peptic ulcer.
The most common sign for identifying peptic ulcer is the throbbing dull pain on the upper part of the stomach. The pain will be more pronounced when the stomach acid gets in touch with the open sores of the lining of the stomach. The intensity of pain may vary widely on emptiness on your stomach and it can be felt anywhere from the navel area till your breastbone region. The pain will become very severe if the stomach is left empty. Taking certain foods will give temporary relief from the pain since it will suppress the acid production. Peptic ulcer can recur after some period of days or weeks.
There will be midnight flaring when the stomach is left empty for hours together. Most of the symptoms will reduce by taking some foods or any antacids that will efficiently neutralize the acid produced by the stomach. In severe cases, there will be signs of vomiting, nausea, blood spots on vomit, passing dark blood colored stools, loss of appetite and weight loss. For some fortunate people there will not be any symptom at all and they will come to know about peptic ulcer only if testing is done for other causes.
Various acids and enzymes secreted in the stomach will eat away the soft inner lining of the stomach or esophagus causing painful open sores. The entire digestive tract is skillfully coated with mucus layer to protect it from the power of acid. But sometimes the acid strength will be sufficiently more enough to destroy the mucus causing ulcer. H Pylori bacteria that live on the mucus can destroy the soft inner mucus lining causing inflammation and ulcer like growth on the stomach. This bacterium will multiply when situations are favorable and can be obtained from others also through close physical contact.
Taking pain killer medications is one of the major causes for peptic ulcer. Some people are in the habit of taking pain killers regularly. Drugs like Ibuprofen, aspirin, Aleve, Motrin IB, Advil and ketoprofen can damage the lining of the stomach causing peptic ulcer. People with arthritis are often prone to use lot of painkiller drugs to get relief from symptoms.
Certain prescription medications given for osteoporosis can cause peptic ulcer. Smoking can significantly cause peptic ulcer and can also lead to complications like internal bleeding of stomach. People who are smoking do not respond well for medications or treatment given for ulcer. There is no direct proof that taking plenty of spicy foods or having coffee and other beverages many times will cause peptic ulcer. Stress and emotions are not responsible for causing ulcer though sometimes they can aggravate the pain.
Who Are at Risk?
People who are not taking meals in time and those who are smoking continuously are more prone to develop peptic ulcer than others. Drinking can also increase the volume of stomach acid contributing for painful sores in the stomach. In rare cases, peptic ulcer can cause internal bleeding leading to anemia or more complications. For severe cases, the peptic ulcer will gradually erode the wall of the stomach putting your life at risk of getting infected.
Tests and Diagnoses :
Blood test is done for confirming the presence of H Pylori in your body. Your doctor may also request for stool testing. For some cases, endoscopy is done for ascertaining open sores on the lining of stomach indicating peptic ulcer. He would also remove a small sample tissue from your stomach through this process for testing it in the laboratory. If there is radioactive carbon in your breath test it is indicative of H Pylori in your body. Imaging tests like X-ray and CT scan is also done for detecting peptic ulcer.
Your doctor will first find out the causative factor before giving treatment.
• Antibiotics are often prescribed for attacking H Pylori and killing them. Follow the instructions of your doctor regarding the dosage of the drug.
• Proton pump inhibitor drugs are given for blocking the acid released from the stomach. Omeprazole, lansoprazole and rabeprazole are some of the medications given for treating peptic ulcer. Be careful in not using these drugs for long term since it can cause bone fracture.
• H2 blocking agents are prescribed for decreasing the release of stomach acid. It can cause temporary side effects like headache and lethargy.
• Antacids are highly useful for neutralizing the stomach acid providing quick relief for the person.
• For some patients, cytoprotective drugs like sucralfate or misoprostol are also prescribed for protecting the tender tissue lining of the stomach.
Majority of peptic ulcers will be cured by these medications. Follow up is necessary to ensure that ulcerous growth is not there in your stomach which can be confirmed by endoscopy.
Refractory Ulcers :
Peptic ulcers that do not heal with medications are called refractory ulcers. It can be caused if the person continues to smoke or drink alcohol after detected with ulcer. Sometimes if he fails to take medications as per the guidelines of the doctor H Pylori cannot be killed. Taking painkillers after peptic ulcers are completely healed is also another reason for recurrent ulcers on your stomach.
Home Remedies :
Stick on to balanced healthy diet that contains plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Restrict or avoid taking painkillers or if the illness warrants you to use medications you can choose alternative drugs with consultation of your doctor. Quit smoking and restrict alcohol consumption since it can cause irritation and erode the soft mucus lining of your stomach.
You can protect your body from any possible infections. H Pylori can spread through food, water and even close contacts. Restrict usage of pain relieving medicines since it can increase the risk of getting peptic ulcer.