Patient Awareness

Ulcers facts: Causes and Symptoms

Ulcers facts
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The most common Ulcers facts revolve around the common kind of ulcer which is stomach ulcers, also referred to as Peptic ulcer. They are painful sores that can be found on the stomach lining or the small intestine. Stomach ulcers are easily cured but they can become severe without proper treatment.

Causes

 According to various Ulcers facts, for years it was thought that stress was a major factor in the formation of ulcers. While severe stress experienced form medical illness may increase the risk of ulcer formation, more common medication such as NSAIDs (Non — steroidal anti-inflammatory medications), the bacteria H. pylori, and smoking are the major risk factors.

  1. Helicobacter is mostly acquired in childhood and much less common in developed nations than in those with less well — developed sanitary conditions. The bacterium causes ulcers by disrupting the protective mucous layer that lines the intestines. When the mucus layer is disrupted, it triggers the release of certain enzymes and toxins that injure the cells of the stomach or duodenum causing small sores. Once a small sore develops, the tissue becomes more vulnerable to damage from digestive juices and has the potential to develop into an ulcer.
  2. The most common NSAIDs are ibuprofen and aspirin. These types of drugs are taken to decrease inflammation. Inflammation is caused by a natural chemical in the body called prostaglandins. NSAIDs work by inhibiting the body’s production of prostaglandins. However, certain prostaglandins are important in protecting the stomach lining from the corrosive effects of stomach acid, as well as playing a role in maintaining the natural, healthy condition of the stomach lining. By disrupting the production of prostaglandins in the stomach, NSAIDs can cause ulcers and bleeding. Baby aspirin alone does not cause ulcers but higher doses and many other over-the-counter pain relievers can lead to ulcers, particularly at high doses and if used daily.

Symptoms

Symptoms usually manifest as pain or burning in your mid to upper abdomen just below the centre of your chest. Common symptoms of gastric ulcers include weight loss, poor appetite, bloating, burping, vomiting, and sometimes vomiting blood.

Treatment

If the stomach ulcer is diagnosed to as having been caused by the bacterium, antibiotics like H2 Blockers, Proton Pump Inhibitors, Over-the-counter Antacids, Cytoprotective Agents will be prescribed. Smoking, alcohol and any medication or food that can trigger symptoms need to be avoided. Certain side effects like nausea, dizziness, headaches and diarrhoea become apparent. These side effects are only temporary.

Another important Ulcers facts is that surgical treatment will be prescribed in the cases of the ulcer continuing to return, bleed or not healing. Seek treatment if you believe you could be suffering from ulcers and don’t attempt treatment through self-medication.

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