Gastric Ulcer

The thick layer of mucus inside the stomach protects it from harmful acids and other substances. When this layer gets thin, the acids in the stomach can damage the tissues and cause various complications. This condition is called Stomach Ulcer or Gastric ulcer. It can be easily treated with proper medication and it gives good results when you make suitable modifications to your eating habits and lifestyle. However, when the problem is neglected for long duration, it can cause severe complications. For this reason, you need to be very careful about such ulcers and treat them with proper medication. In the early stages, you may notice symptoms like burning sensation in the stomach and pain. Many people notice that this reduces when they eat something. In other cases, it can lead to bloating or uncomfortable feeling in the stomach. You should make it a point to avoid foods that are acidic and spicy as they increase the production of acids in the stomach and aggravate the symptoms. You should also drink sufficient fluids as they help in digestion. In most cases, having gastric ulcers is common and there is no need to worry about this as it can be cured without any complications. Only in rare cases, this can be symptoms of stomach cancer and you need emergency treatment in that situation.

Symptoms of Gastric Ulcer

-  The symptoms of this condition will be obvious in most cases and you can notice some discomfort in the abdomen region. This will usually become more severe when you have not taken any food for many hours and it will usually subside after you eat some food.

-  This can also be accompanied by pain in the abdomen region. Every person will not have the same intensity of pain as it depends on how badly stomach ulcers have affected the inner lining of stomach. You may also have pain only for a few hours in a day and this will reduce after eating some food.

-  In the long run, this can lead to weight loss as the person suffering from this condition feels full even after eating small quantity of food. This leads to general loss of appetite and weight loss in the long run.

-  Some people also complain about symptoms of nausea and vomiting when they have gastric ulcers. It is also common to have symptoms of acid reflux as more acids will be produced in the stomach area and it puts lot of pressure in that region. This can also cause frequent burping to release the gases produced in the stomach.

-  As the acids move upwards during this situation, it can cause burning sensation in the chest region and some people also complain about chest pain due to this condition. This can be relieved temporarily when you take antacids and it helps to neutralize the excess acids in the stomach region.

-  When it continues for a long duration, it can even cause general weakness and symptoms of anemia. People suffering from this condition also experience shortness of breath and there may be drastic changes in the color of stools.

-  While these symptoms are very common, in rare cases, you may also notice bleeding ulcers and they need emergency treatment. Never neglect such symptoms as they can be indication of some serious disorders.

Causes of Gastric Ulcer

-  In most cases, the H Pylori bacteria is responsible for this condition and this infects the inner lining of the stomach and makes it prone to gastric ulcers. The acids that are naturally produced in the stomach now begin to affect the inner lining and causes ulcers that become painful in the long run.

-  Apart from that, using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also lead to this condition in many individuals. You will be surprised to know that many over the counter medication can cause such conditions and you need to be aware of such things before using them to treat some health problems.

-  Eating excessive spicy foods and excessive smoking can also trigger this condition even though they do not directly cause ulcers in many individuals.

Diagnosis of Gastric Ulcer

-  As one of the major causes of gastric ulcer is H pylori bacteria, tests will be done to detect its presence in the body. This is done by taking a sample of the stool and it will give clear indication about such bacteria. The common symptom in this situation will be severe pain in the stomach region. When this test is not giving clear results, a gastroscopy test may also be done to take the biopsy sample from the affected area.

-  The endoscopy test will be usually done to know about the intensity of the stomach ulcer and this will help the doctors to prescribe suitable medication to reduce the symptoms. In this test, a small tube that contains a camera will be inserted inside your body and this gives the complete view about the inner region of the stomach. In this way, it becomes easy to determine the extent of damage and provide suitable treatment for this condition.

-  In order to clearly diagnose the gastrointestinal tract, you may be given barium liquid and this helps the doctors to clearly see the inner lining of stomach and intestine using the X ray device. In this manner, any damage done to the lining can be easily detected and further treatment can be given to reduce the symptoms.

-  A biopsy may be required in some cases to determine the cause of the ulcer. This is done along with endoscopy and a sample will be collected that will further be tested in the lab for various ulcer causing agents. Depending on the results of the test, further treatment will be given to the patient.

Prevention of Gastric Ulcer

-  There are many ways in which you can prevent ulcers by making suitable changes to your lifestyle. Along with that, you should also note that eating healthy food and avoiding acidic foods will help you to avoid them in the long run. Remember that everyone who eats acidic foods are not prone to getting gastric ulcers. You should be careful only when you have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or a sensitive stomach.

-  In the same manner, you should also avoid eating spicy foods as this can trigger the production of acids in the stomach and when it becomes too much to handle, it damages the inner lining of the stomach. You should carefully analyze if such foods trigger acidity sensation in your body and avoid them in future.

-  Drinking sufficient fluids while eating food is also a good way to reduce the impact of acids in the stomach. This is suitable when you are suffering from such problems in the past. You should also understand that drinking sufficient liquids will ensure smooth digestion and your body will not require too much acids to process the food items.

-  Even though it may appear very minor solution, chewing food properly while eating makes a lot of difference to your overall digestion. Remember that you are breaking down the food particles while chewing and this means that your stomach will have less work to do in processing them inside the body. In this way, the acid production can reduce to a certain extent.

-  Certain foods are well known to trigger gastric problems in many individuals and you should speak to your doctor to get some clarity in this regard. Make some modifications to your everyday diet and you can easily stay away from gastric ulcer problems in future.

-  Make sure that you quit smoking as this can trigger ulcers in the stomach and even consuming excess alcohol has a negative impact on the digestion process. If you cannot quit them completely, reduce their consumption and make sure that you never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.

-  You should also try to use antacids after eating a heavy meal as this will reduce the symptoms of gastric ulcer to a certain extent. It is also good to consume fruits and other foods that are low in acids and your body will feel better after including them in your everyday diet.

Treatment for Gastric Ulcer

-  In most cases, treatment for gastric ulcer is very simple and using medication will give effective results in the short run. When you are not having severe ulcers, this should be enough and you have to take care that you do not eat foods that trigger ulcers in future. Only when you have severe damage to the inner lining of stomach due to ulcers, you will need surgery.

-  When the ulcers are due to H pylori infection, you will need proper antibiotics to reduce the infection and this will help you to reduce the symptoms in quick time. It blocks the cells that produce acids in the stomach and they cannot be used for a very long duration. Also understand that they come with many side effects and many people complain about nausea and dizziness after using them for a long duration.

-  In most cases, the side effects are temporary and you need not worry too much about them in the long run. If you notice abdominal pain after using the medication, you can use some over the counter pain killers on a temporary basis. Note that this treatment will do wonders for your health in the long run as it eliminates the infection causing bacteria completely from your body.

-  Some people have recurring ulcers and this needs to be treated with surgery. This is also the best solution when you have bleeding ulcers and they can do permanent damage to the inner lining of the stomach when surgery is not performed at the right time. In most cases, surgery will remove the ulcer completely from the body.

-  In other cases, where removing the ulcer is not possible due to various complications, a patch of healthy tissues from the other region will be taken and implanted on the ulcer affected area. This can provide some relief in the long run.

-  When the ulcer is caused due to a bleeding artery, the artery will be tied permanently and this does not affect the functioning of the digestive system in any manner.

-  When the stomach is producing too much acids, the nerves that supply acids to the area will be cut off and this reduces the gastric ulcer in many cases. In this way, different approaches will be used during surgery depending on the intensity of the problem.

Complications of Gastric Ulcer

-  When the ulcer is not very severe, it does not cause much complications and you can easily treat them with medication.

-  However, when they are severe, it can lead to bleeding inside the stomach and this affects other organs of the body.

-  It can even cause some obstruction in the digestive tract and create many complications when treatment is not provided in the long run.

-  The biggest complication of ulcers is that they do not heal sometimes and they tend to return back in few months even after getting proper treatment. In that situation, surgery may be required to get permanent or long term relief from the symptoms.

Conclusion

As long as you are not experiencing too much pain or discomfort due to this condition, there is no need to worry and you can easily manage them with the regular antacids available over the counter. However, when you start experiencing severe pain or bloating in the abdominal region, you need to consult your doctor and take regular treatment. In many cases, the medication you are taking for other ailments may be causing ulcers in your stomach. In that situation, it will usually subside within few weeks and you need not get separate treatment for this problem. However, when ulcers are caused due to infection or other reasons, you need specific treatment. Apart from that, making certain modifications to your diet will also go a long way in treating gastric ulcers and you can prevent them in future. If everything else fails, you can go for surgery to get long term relief from the problem.

Last updated on : 14-09-2018

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