A stomach ulcer occurs when gastric (stomach) acid eats away at your protective stomach lining. The acid produces open sores that can bleed and cause stomach pain. Stomach ulcers are one kind of peptic ulcer disease. They’re common and treatable, but they should be taken seriously.
What is peptic ulcer disease?
Peptic ulcer disease is a condition in which painful sores or ulcers develop in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum). Normally, a thick layer of mucus protects the stomach lining from the effect of its digestive juices. But many things can reduce this protective layer, allowing stomach acid to damage the tissue.
Who is more likely to get ulcers?
One in 10 people develops an ulcer. Risk factors that make ulcers more likely include:
- Frequent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a group of common pain relievers are one of the major risk factor.
- A family history of ulcers.
- Illness such as liver, kidney or lung disease.
- Regularly drinking alcohol.
- Burning stomach pain
- Feeling of fullness, bloating or belching
- Intolerance to fatty foods
The most common peptic ulcer symptom is burning stomach pain. Stomach acid makes the pain worse, as does having an empty stomach. The pain can often be relieved by eating certain foods that reduce stomach acid or by taking an acid-reducing medication, but then it may come back. The pain may be worse between meals and at night.
Many people with peptic ulcers don’t even have symptoms.
Less often, ulcers may cause severe signs or symptoms such as:
- Vomiting or vomiting blood — which may appear red or black
- Dark blood in stools, or stools that are black.
- Heavy breathing
- Feeling faint
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Appetite changes
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have the severe signs or symptoms or symptoms suddenly get worst. Also see your doctor if acid blockers or pain killers can’t relief your pain. Prolong condition may lead to the stomach cancer and ultimately to death.
Can coffee and spicy foods cause ulcers?
It’s a common misconception that coffee and spicy foods can cause ulcers. In the past, you might have heard that people with ulcers should eat a bland diet. But now we know that if you have an ulcer, you can still enjoy whatever foods you choose as long as they don’t make your symptoms worse.
Peptic ulcers occur when acid in the digestive tract eats away at the inner surface of the stomach or small intestine. The acid can create a painful open sore that may bleed.
Your digestive tract Is coated with a mucous layer that normally protects against acid. But if the amount of acid is increased or the amount of mucus is decreased, you could develop an ulcer.
Common causes include:
Helicobacter pylori bacteria commonly live in the mucous layer that covers and protects tissues that line the stomach and small intestine. Often, the H. pylori bacterium causes no problems, but it can cause inflammation of the stomach’s inner layer, producing an ulcer.
It’s not clear how H. pylori infection spreads. It may be transmitted from person to person by close contact. People may also contract H. pylori through food and water.
Regular use of certain pain relievers.
Taking aspirin, as well as certain prescription pain medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) , can irritate or inflame the lining of your stomach and small intestine.
Mode of Transmission:
Oral- fecal route:
This route is from mouth to anal region. This route can cause ulcer by contaminated water and food
This route is from mouth to stomach. This route can cause ulcer by vomiting.
This route include mouth. It can transmitted ulcer by saliva ( during kissing).
How are ulcers diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider may be able to make the diagnosis just by talking with you about your symptoms.
To confirm the diagnosis, you’ll need one of these tests:
If you have severe symptoms, your provider may recommend an endoscopy to determine if you have an ulcer. In this procedure, the doctor inserts an endoscope (a small, lighted tube with a tiny camera) through your throat and into your stomach to look for abnormalities.
H. Pylori tests
Tests for H. pylori are now widely used and your provider will tell you treatment to reduce your symptoms and kill the bacteria. A breath test is the easiest way to discover H. pylori. Your provider can also look for it with a blood or stool test, or by taking a sample during an endoscopy.
RISK FACTORS FOR PEPTIC ULCER DISEASE (PUD):
Cigarette Smoking may increase the risk of peptic ulcers in people who are infected with H. pylori.
Cocaine — reduces blood flow as a result of which new fovealor cells are not formed that are responsible for Mucus production.
Psychological stress— like anxiety, depression etc. increases gastric acid secretion.
Gland enlargement ( increase in no of cells resulting in increased HCL production, causing ulcers).
Smoking may increase the risk of peptic ulcers in people who are infected with H. pylori.
Alcohol can irritate and erode the mucous lining of your stomach, and it increases the amount of stomach acid that’s produced.
Have untreated stress.
Eat spicy foods.
Left untreated, peptic ulcers can result in:
- Internal bleeding. Bleeding can occur as slow blood loss that leads to anemia or as severe blood loss that may require hospitalization or a blood transfusion. Severe blood loss may cause black or bloody vomit or black or bloody stools.
- A hole (perforation) in your stomach wall. Peptic ulcers can eat a hole through (perforate) the wall of your stomach or small intestine, putting you at risk of serious infection of your abdominal cavity (peritonitis).
- Obstruction. Peptic ulcers can block passage of food through the digestive tract, causing you to become full easily, to vomit and to lose weight either through swelling from inflammation or through scarring.
- Gastric cancer. Studies have shown that people infected with H. pylori have an increased risk of gastric cancer.
How can I prevent ulcers?
You may be able to prevent ulcers from forming if you:
- Talk to your doctor about alternatives to NSAID medications (like acetaminophen) to relieve pain.
- Discuss protective measures with your doctor, if you can’t stop taking an NSAID.
- Quit smoking.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
Will drinking milk help an ulcer?
No. Milk may temporarily soothe ulcer pain because it coats the stomach lining. But milk also causes your stomach to produce more acid and digestive juices, which can make ulcers worse.
General health care:
To treat peptic ulcers, most people need to take medicines that reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. If you have an H. pylori infection, you will also need to take antibiotics. You can help speed the healing of your ulcer and prevent it from coming back if you quit smoking and limit alcohol.
If you suffer from peptic ulcer disease, then aim to have a diet high in fibre and rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Try for a minimum of seven servings of vegetables and fruits each day, and a minimum of five servings of whole grains.