By: DR AZIZUR RAHMAN
A stomach or gastric ulcer is a type of sore or wound in the stomach lining. Such ulcers can occur in other parts of the digestive system besides the stomach. For example, An ulcer in the first part of the intestine that starts after the stomach is called a duodenal ulcer. Duodenal ulcer and gastric ulcer—These two types of ulcers are sometimes called peptic ulcers.
Although primarily discussed here are stomach ulcers, the information is equally valid for duodenal ulcers.
What are the symptoms of a stomach ulcer?
A specific type of pain is the most common symptom of a stomach ulcer. A stomach ulcer causes a burning or dull pain in the middle of the stomach. But not everyone has pain. Some may have other symptoms as well. For example –
When to consult a doctor?
If you think you have any symptoms of a stomach ulcer, make sure to see a doctor. In addition, if any of the following symptoms occur, seek immediate medical attention—
If blood is vomited, vomiting may be accompanied by bright red blood. Or there may be dark-coloured streaks or streaks of blood mixed in, which look like coffee beans.
Black, sticky, tarry stools.
Sudden sharp and sharp pain in the abdomen, which gradually increases with time.
These symptoms can occur due to serious complications like internal bleeding. So going to the hospital and starting treatment without delay is necessary.
Why is it a stomach ulcer?
They have a coating between them to protect the stomach lining from exposure to the acid produced in the stomach. The lining is basically a layer made of a mucus-like substance called mucus. If this layer is damaged for some reason, the acid comes into direct contact with the lining of the stomach and damages it. Stomach ulcers are formed in this way.
Causes of coating damage include—
Infection with bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
Long-term or high doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, aceclofenac or aspirin
Earlier, it was believed that stomach ulcers were caused by stress or eating certain foods. But there is no irrefutable evidence for them.
Who has stomach ulcers?
Stomach ulcer is a very common disease, affecting people of any age, from children. However, the disease is more common in people aged 60 years and above. Men are more commonly affected by stomach ulcers than women.
Stomach ulcer treatment
Most stomach ulcers heal completely within one to two months with proper treatment. However, what treatment a patient receives usually depends on what caused the ulcer. The following methods are commonly used in the treatment of stomach ulcers:
1. Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications are the first line of treatment for most people. These are commonly known as gastric medicines. PPIs reduce gastric acid secretion from the stomach, allowing the ulcer to heal on its own.
2. Antibiotics are recommended in addition to PPIs if an infection causes the ulcer with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. Antibiotics prevent recurrent ulcers by killing these bacteria.
3. PPIs should also be used in cases of ulcers caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Your doctor will also discuss with you whether you should continue taking NSAIDs. If necessary, medicines like paracetamol can be advised instead of these medicines.
Stomach ulcers can recur even after treatment. However, if the cause of the ulcer can be eliminated, the problem of ulcers usually does not return.
Possible complications of stomach ulcers
Stomach ulcers usually do not cause any complications. However, in some cases, these complications can be fatal. These complications are so serious that they can lead to death.
Major complications of stomach ulcers include—
Bleeding from ulcers or wounds
Leakage of the stomach lining at the site of the ulcer—medically known as perforation. Blockage of food through the digestive tract due to ulcers is called gastric obstruction.