Stomach ulcers, also referred to as peptic ulcers are small erosions that occur along gastrointestinal tract. Stomach ulcers do not necessarily occur in the stomach, a big percentage occur in the duodenum, the first part of your small intestines just immediately after your stomach. Generally, stomach ulcers at times become malignant, unlike duodenum ulcers that are mostly non-cancerous. While those that occur in within the stomach are at times referred to as gastric ulcers, those that occur in the duodenum are referred to as duodenum ulcers. Stomach ulcers are non-contagious and affect a large number of people worldwide. Note that children too suffer stomach ulcers, depending on the cause, which can be a disease or a health condition. Apart from duodenum and stomach ulcers, you can also develop or suffer esophageal or Meckel’s diverticulum ulcers.
Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers present varied symptoms, some of which include:
- Abdominal pain – You are likely to experience abdominal pain after meals if you have gastric ulcers. Note that eating somehow relieves duodenal ulcers.
- Excess saliva in the mouth – You are bound to experience increased amount of saliva in your mouth in case you have esophageal ulcer.
- Nausea – You are bound to feel nauseated and you can easily vomit.
- Loss of appetite – You feel as if you are full and may not want to eat. As you continue to suffer, you are likely to experience weight loss because of failing to eat.
- Vomiting of blood – You are likely to vomit bleed with advanced gastric or esophageal ulcer. This is caused by severe vomiting.
- Burning sensation – You are bound to experience a burning sensation in your stomach. This can last up to half an hour before subsiding.
Causes of Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers are caused by various factors:
- High acidic level – your digestive juices naturally contain hydrochloric acid that can erode intestinal or gastric lining, leading to ulcers.
- Infection – Being infected by Helicobacter pylori bacteria causes stomach ulcers. You can be infected through contaminated food or water.
- Stress – High psychological stress levels contribute to the formation of duodenal ulcers.
- Medications – Long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin are major causes of stomach ulcers.
- Lifestyle – Poor lifestyle as in heavy smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol causes stomach ulcers.
Diagnostic Methods for Stomach Ulcers
Although various diagnostic methods are available that doctors use in diagnosing stomach ulcers, they normally diagnose the same through the apparent symptoms. Most diagnostic methods are usually to identify the type of ulcer and to eliminate the likelihood of cancerous cells. Diagnostic tests you may be subjected to include
- Blood tests
- Stool antigen test
Treatment of Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers treatment takes many forms, some targeting the cause. They include:
- A healthy diet regime – A healthy diet for managing and eventually clearing stomach ulcers is that which contains non-acidic foods. Such is supposed to eaten along with other liquid meals. Such a diet eliminates all foods and fruits with high acid content, such as lemons.
- Safe Medications – If you are on long-term use of anti-inflammatory medications, your doctor is likely to prescribe safer medications instead as one way of preventing further development of stomach ulcers.
- Medications – Such medications as Amoxicillin and Tetracycline are very effective in the eradication of H. pylori bacteria and treating resultant ulcers.
- Surgery – Surgery is only undertaken if yours is a case of perforated peptic ulcer, which is not only a serious but life-threatening ulcer condition.
It is important that you take stomach ulcers seriously because ulcers affect the surrounding nerves, hemorrhage, tear of stomach/intestinal wall in addition to obstruction within the gastrointestinal tract. These can seriously affect you.