What is an Ulcer?
An ulcer is an open wound or lesion which develops in the mucous membranes of the body’s cavities. There are mouth ulcers, duodenal ulcers, esophageal ulcers (which are rare) and stomach ulcers. A stomach ulcer can be referred to as a peptic ulcer or a gastric ulcer. It develops in the mucous membranes of the stomach. In order to understand stomach ulcers symptoms and treatment, let us examine what causes a stomach ulcer.
What Causes Ulcers?
Pepsin and gastrin are enzymes which the digestive system uses to break down food into elements. The mucous membranes that line the gastro intestinal system secrete mucus in order to protect the tissues against the corrosive effect of these acids. Whenever there is excess acid in the stomach, it causes the acids to eat away at the unprotected tissue. Infection by the Helicobacter pylori bacterium or anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) which cause irritation; and some prescription drugs for arthritis may also trigger a stomach ulcer.
Symptoms Of A Stomach Ulcer
If you experience unusual burning pains and cramps in your stomach, you probably have a stomach ulcer. You need to discuss your symptoms with a doctor so he can prescribe the right treatment When someone develops a stomach ulcer, symptoms usually experienced are as follows:
- You feel bloating, and a burning or dull pain in your stomach
- You feel more pain when you eat or drink
- You feel full quickly
- The pain that wakes you up at night
- Unexpected weight loss
Treatment of Stomach Ulcers
Self-care with natural herbs and minerals can help you temporarily with your stomach ulcer.You can also get relief if you avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, inflammatory drugs and quit smoking if you do smoke. However, it is wise to le the doctor prescribe treatment after he has diagnosed that you do have a stomach ulcer, and not another type of ulcer which may require different treatment. This is very important, because if the ulcer is caused by an infection, namely the Helicobacter pylori bacterium, you must get rid of the bacteria. Your doctor will prescribe treatment aimed at lowering the amount of acid which your stomach makes. The acid will also need to be neutralized and the area protected so it could heal.
Triple Therapy Treatment and Others
There is a treatment called triple therapy which is used to get rid of the bacteria. It consists of combining two antibiotics with bismuth subsalicylate. (Pepto Bismol is one of the brand names) There are also other effective combinations. They can all be used with medicine which reduces the amount of acid in your stomach.
There are also other medicines such as H2blockers and proton pump inhibitors which give relief to people with stomach ulcers. Antacids are also effective. Sucralfate is a medication which coats the ulcer to protect it from the acid. As a result, the stomach has time to heal.
Misoprostol is yet another medication used n healing stomach ulcers. Treatment to get rid of the bacteria usually takes about 2-3 weeks. However doctors usually ask patients to take medicine which lowers the stomach acid for as much as 8 weeks to allow the ulcer to heal.
In addition to the doctor’s medication, it’s important to be careful about what you eat and drink. Your doctor will most certainly advise you about this. Caffeinated drinks, chocolate, alcohol, black pepper, meat extracts, chili powder and foods of this nature are likely to increase your pain. Keep a balanced diet and eat small frequent meals when you are having pain.
Ulcers Can Be Serious
Pain is only a symptom, but ulcers can cause other serious health problems like bleeding or perforation of the stomach They can also cause obstruction (blocking food from going through the stomach) if care is not taken regarding stomach ulcers symptoms and treatment.
1. What You Can Do to Heal Your Ulcer
2. Halth Encyclopaedia – Diseases and Conditions