An ulcer is a sore or lesion that occurs in the lining of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). A stomach ulcer is due to the tiny erosion in the gastrointestinal tract. Duodenal is the most common type of stomach ulcer. It occurs in the first twelve inches of small intestine away from the stomach. The stomach ulcer is also known as “Peptic ulcer”. Stomach ulcer causes severe, sharp pain in the upper part of the You do not have access to view this node. Based on the studies conducted by the American College of Gastroenterology, roughly 20 million Americans will develop an ulcer during their life. Ulcers affect about 5 million Americans each year, and more than 40,000 people yearly have ulcer-related You do not have access to view this node. People of any age can get an ulcer and women are affected frequently as men.
How do ulcers form?
A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum. The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine. A peptic ulcer also may develop just above the stomach in the esophagus, the tube that joins the mouth to the stomach. However, most peptic ulcers develop in the stomach or duodenum. The size of a stomach ulcer can range between 1/8 of an inch to 3/4 of an inch.
What are the types of Ulcers?
A peptic ulcer in the stomach is called a ‘gastric ulcer’.
Ulcer that is formed in the duodenum is called a ‘duodenal ulcer’.
What are the causes of Stomach ulcers?
Generally, the lining of the stomach is secluded from the harmful effects of stomach acid. An ulcer is formed when this defense fails to work. This happens due to some reasons as discussed below:
As many people believe, ulcers are not caused by spicy food or stress. Instead, a type of bacteria called “Helicobacter pylori” is the one to blame. This bacteria deteriorates the defensive coating of the stomach and also the first part of the intestine which permits the harmful digestive juices to erode at the sensitive lining underneath.
In addition, continuous use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for instance, ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and ketoprofen (OrudisKT), are the second most common reasons of ulcers. These drugs obstruct ‘prostaglandins’, the substances in the stomach that help preserve blood flow and defend the area from damage. Even prescription drugs can also form ulcer.
Other causes of ulcers are conditions that can result in direct damage to the wall of the stomach or duodenum, such as heavy use of alcohol, radiation therapy, burns, and physical injury.
What are the symptoms of ulcer?
The symptoms of ulcer include:
Abdominal You do not have access to view this node with a burning or gnawing sensation
You do not have access to view this node 2 - 3 hours after eating
You do not have access to view this node between meals
What are some ways to treat stomach ulcer?
Depending on type of ulcer, the physician may prescribe a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) or histamine receptor blocker (H2 blocker) to decrease stomach acid and guard the lining of the stomach and duodenum.
Sometimes doctor may prescribe one or more antibiotics to kill an H. pylori infection, or a medicine that contains bismuth subsalicylate, such as Pepto-Bismol, to coat the ulcers and protect them from stomach acid.
A person should stop using NSAID, if an NSAID is the reason for his/her ulcer. He could switch to some other medicine recommended by a doctor.
Since, smoking and drinking alcohol slow down the healing of ulcers and also make them worse; one should completely stop taking alcohol and should quit smoking.
Reducing the stress level is also a good way to prevent ulcersin the future.
Foods that cause heart burn should be avoided. Foods such as citrus fruits, alcohol, garlic, spicy foods, coffee, tobacco and can increase the levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, causing and worsening peptic ulcers.
Proper nutrition for the body can help ulcer to heal faster. It is important to have a balanced diet rich in vitamins and nutrients. It is always vital to increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, mainly juices.
Some vitamins such as Iron and calcium are known to cause heartburn. One can replace those with milk and lean red meats (like beef, pork and lamb) that are the good sources of calcium and iron.
Drinking fenugreek tea prevents and soothes stomach ulcers. This tea can be prepared by adding 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds to a cup of boiling water.
Among fruits, banana is one of the best fruits to counterbalance the hydrochloric acid in the stomach, thus lessening the painful symptoms of peptic ulcers. Intake of two bananas with a glass of milk three times a day soothes the acid reflux and also avoids additional irritation.