Stomach Ulcer Symptoms, Causes, Diagnoses & Natural Treatment
Stomach ulcer symptoms indicate that something wrong is going on with your digestive system. The stomach ulcer is also known by the name of gastric ulcers, and are, in fact, the painful sores in the stomach lining. They occur when the thick mucus layer, which protects the stomach from getting damaged by the digestive juices, gets reduced.
Stomach ulcers are a type of peptic ulcer disease in which the digestive acid that is present in the stomach starts eating it away at the lined tissues. Such infections are highly curable when in early conditions but without proper diagnosis and treatment, they can also become severe.
What are the two Main Causes of Stomach Ulcers?
Research shows that there are two conditions that can be linked directly to the stomach ulcers or can be treated as its primary causes. These two types of ulcers are:
- A bacterial infection caused by H. Pylori (Helicobacter Pylori)
- Long-term usages of NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), like ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin
In some sporadic cases, stomach ulcers can also be a result of a condition known by the name Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome which boosts the acid production capabilities of body and thus, lead to intestinal and stomach ulcers. But this syndrome is expected to be the primary affecting factor of less than 1% cases of peptic ulcers.
Upset Stomach Ulcers Symptoms
A considerable number of signs and symptoms are associated with peptic ulcers, whereas the severity of the ulcers is dependent on the severity of the cases. The pain or burning sensation between belly button and chest, i.e., in the middle of the abdomen, is considered as one of the most common symptoms. Usually, the pain grows in intensity when the stomach is empty and can last up to several hours. Other common symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Dull pain in the abdomen
- No desire to eat anything
- Vomiting or nausea
- Acid reflux or burping
- Burning sensation in chest
- Feeling easily full
- Pain which reduces with drinking water or eating something, or by taking antacids
- Vomit that looks like coffee grounds or bloody
- Tarry, dark stools
If you have any of the above symptoms, then we would recommend you to get yourself checked by a doctor, as the ulcers worsen out with time, if aren’t treated with care. Moreover, the bleeding ulcers can also become a threat to the life.
How to Diagnose Stomach Ulcer Symptoms?
The treatment and diagnosis of stomach ulcers and their symptoms depend on the severity of the case. For diagnosis, the doctors usually review the medical history of the patient along with the signs and over-the-counter medications or prescriptions he is taking. As ruling out one or more possibilities is considered good, the doctor may order you to undergo a breath, blood, or stool test.
With a breath test, the patient drinks a clear liquid and is asked to breathe into a bag. This bag is then sealed. In case of H. Pylori, the sample will contain higher quantities of carbon dioxide than that of normal levels. Other procedure and tests that are used to diagnose the stomach ulcers include:
- EGD (Endoscopy): In this technique, a lighted, thin tube is used to reach the stomach and the small intestine, by inserting it into your mouth. This test helps in looking for any bleedings, abnormal tissues, and ulcers.
- Barium Swallow: Just as the name of the test suggests, for this test, the patient drinks barium (a thick white liquid) which coats the upper areas of the gastrointestinal tract. Doctors, then, make use of an X-ray test to see your small intestine and stomach.
- Endoscopic Biopsy: For the analysis purposes, a little piece of stomach tissue is removed.
Treatment of Stomach Ulcer Symptoms: Stomach vs Duodenal Ulcer Symptom
A report put forward by American Gastroenterological Association says that more than 4 million US residents are suffering from peptic ulcer diseases, including the duodenal ulcer symptoms. The stomach ulcer treatments differ, depending on the reasons that caused them.
Most of the time, they are dealt with a prescription from a specialized doctor; but in rare cases, he might recommend you to undergo surgery. As the proper treatment of ulcer is necessary, it is better that you talk to your doctor regarding the condition in which you are. And in case, if you have an actively bleeding ulcer symptoms, then there’s a higher chance that you will get hospitalized for an intensive treatment with IV ulcer medications and endoscopy.
Nonsurgical Stomach Ulcer Treatments
The use of PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) and antibiotics is a must if your ulcer is due to an infection caused by H. Pylori. Proton Pump Inhibitors prevent the production of the acid by the stomach cells. In addition to these treatments, the doctor might recommend you to:
- Stop the usage of NSAIDs
- Probiotics (useful bacteria that may assist in getting rid of H. Pylori)
- H2 receptor blockers (the medication that blocks the acid production)
- Follow-up endoscopy
- Bismuth Supplement
The stomach ulcer symptoms usually subside quickly as the treatment advances. But it is essential to continue the use of prescribed medications, particularly in the case of H. Pylori infections. This is done to make sure that not even a single strain of disease-causing bacteria is left in the body.
Is There any Side-Effects of Nonsurgical Treatments:
Keep in mind that the non-surgical treatment might give rise to a few possible side effects. These side effects are temporary. But if any of the effects is causing you extreme discomfort, then don’t hesitate in talking to your doctor about the change of medications.
A complicated ulcer might need you to undergo surgery, but that happens in rare cases. These cases include the ulcers that:
- Don’t heal
- Continue to return
- Keep the food from getting into the small intestine out of the stomach
- Tear through the stomach
So, the surgeries are done for removal of entire ulcer, tying off a bleeding artery, patching a tissue from one part of the intestine to the ulcer affected site or cutting off the nerve supply to control the amount of acid production.
Stomach Ulcer Diet
According to an ancient school of thought, ulcers can also be caused by the diet, but today we know that this isn’t true. In fact, the type of food won’t even cure or cause an ulcer but maintaining a healthy diet can improve the functionality of the intestinal tract, and thus the overall health. Maintaining a diet plan that contains a lot of vegetables, fruits and fiber is a great idea.
Moreover, it is also a possibility that some particular foods can also play a role in the elimination of the H. Pylori. The foods that boost the presence of healthy bacteria in the body or fight off H. Pylori include:
- Leafy green vegetables, like kale and spinach
- Olive oil
- Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries
- Probiotic-rich foods, such as miso, yogurt (primarily with Saccharomyces and Lactobacillus)
How to Prevent the Stomach Ulcer Symptoms?
To prevent the stomach ulcer symptoms from happening, and to stop the spread of the bacteria, always wash your hands with water and soap on a regular basis. Moreover, ensure that you wash the foods thoroughly and cook them as needed. To avoid the ulcers that are a result of NSAIDs, limit their use and if possible, stop using them. If the use of NSAIDs is necessary, then be sure that you follow recommended dosage and stay away from alcohol.