A patient’s guide to stomach ulcer.
Know about the causes, signs, and symptoms, risk factors and medical treatment.
About stomach ulcer
Stomach ulcer is an open sore that develops on the lining of the stomach. Ulcer also occurs in the part of the intestine just beyond the stomach. This is referred to as duodenal ulcer.
Causes of stomach ulcer
Stomach ulcer occurs when the layer protecting the stomach lining from stomach acid breaks down. Resulting to damage of the stomach lining.
Common causes include:
- an infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori)
- long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen
less common causes of stomach ulcer are:
- excess stomach acidity (hyperacidity)
- Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome – a rare disease that causes excess stomach acid to be produced
What are the risk factors of stomach ulcer?
Certain factors increase the chances of developing stomach ulcer. These include:
- Alcohol abuse
Symptoms of stomach ulcer
Although the most common symptom of stomach ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain in the stomach. Some people experience;
- heart burns
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Dark, tarry stools
- Relief of pain by eating, drinking or taking antacids
How can stomach ulcer be treated ?
Treatment for stomach ulcer depends on the cause. Most ulcers are treated with prescriptions from a doctor but in rare cases, surgery is required.
Medications for stomach ulcer
- Antibiotics – to kill the bacterium H.pylori
- Proton pump inhibitors
- Histamine blockers – to reduce the amount of stomach acid released into the digestive tract, which relieves ulcer pain
- Antacids – to neutralize existing stomach acid and relief pain
Possible medical complications
- Hemorrhage – blood loss either inside or outside the body
- Gastrointestinal perforation – this occurs when a hole forms all the way through the stomach , large bowel or small intestines
- Intestinal obstruction – a gastrointestinal condition in which digested material is prevented from passing normally through the bowel
- Markus M, January 2018. Everything you need to know about stomach ulcers. Available at https//www.medicalnewstoday.com
- Nhs. Stomach ulcer. Available at https//nhsinform.scot.com
- Mayo Clinic. Peptic ulcer. Available at https//www.mayoclinic.com
Please does drinking milk makes it better or worse?
It might help for a few minutes, but milk also stimulates the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid, which can make ulcers hurt more. You don’t have to avoid milk ( a serving of two a day is okay), but drinking more milk won’t help an ulcer heal.
How long can an individual stay having stomach ulcer?
To my knowledge, one can live for long. Ulcers heal. For instance, uncomplicated gastric ulcers take up to two or three months to heal completely. Duodenal ulcers take about six weeks to heal.