Patient Awareness

Ulcers facts: Causes and Symptoms

Ulcers facts
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stomachulcersymptoms-inwomenchildrenMajority of the Ulcers facts revolve around the most common kind of ulcer which is stomach ulcers, also referred to as Peptic ulcer. They are painful sores and are found on the stomach lining or in the small intestine. Stomach ulcers are easily cured but they can become severe if not treated properly.

Causes

 According to various facts, for years it was thought that stress was a major factor in the formation of ulcers. While severe stress experienced from medical illness may increase the risk of ulcer formation, 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 is not common in developed nations as compared to those with less well — developed sanitary conditions. The bacterium causes ulcers by disrupting the protective mucous layer that lines the intestines. When the mucous 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. Small doses of 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 even vomiting blood.

Treatment

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

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

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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