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10 Stomach Ulcer Symptoms

Stomach Ulcer Symptoms
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“Stomach ulcers?”

The term reminds us how important it is to take good care of our digestive system. Stomach ulcer now seems to be a common health concern a lot of people encounter in today’s fast-paced lifestyle that most of us live.

The busy schedules and stressful work often put individuals into seeking ways to engage in activities perceived to help relieve their stress. Smoking and drinking alcohol are just some of the go-to factors many people regularly practice in managing stress which in the long run could actually cause worse problems. Stomach ulcer is just one of the health concerns that could potentially develop.

In the past, it was once believed that spicy foods, along with stress, is the most common cause for ulcers. But doctors today confirmed that it isn’t so. The medical condition is actually due to H. pylori bacteria and regular use of pain relievers such as aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Stomach Ulcer Symptoms

To give a definite definition on what is a stomach ulcer, it is an open sore that develop in the lining of the stomach.

Below are the most common signs and symptoms of stomach ulcer:

1. Burning pain in the abdomen

The most common symptom is burning pain. Stomach ulcers manifest pain when the digestive juices in the stomach comes in contact with the open sore.

Digestive juices are acids that has the strength to help break down food, which suggests how very strong is the substance. It is easy to see why this would cause pain, just imagine the hydrochloric acid we use to clean our bathrooms or wash away tough stains!

Typically, the pain is felt from the navel to the breastbone. The pain usually flares up at night and may disappear and return after a few days or weeks.

It also becomes worse when the stomach is empty, which may have resulted to the misconception that ulcers are caused by skipping meals when in fact, the ulcer was already present and was just aggravated because the patient was not eating regularly (or skipping meals).

2. Vomiting of blood

There are many possible causes of hematemesis or vomiting of blood. The most common cause though is stomach ulcers.

The patient may vomit blood that appears dark, brown-like coffee grounds. This happens when the ulcer damages an underlying gastric artery. The coffee ground appearance indicates that the blood has been present in the stomach for several hours.

It is one among symptoms of an ulcer that should be closely observed. Patients who exhibit this symptom must be immediately brought to the hospital. It is also recommended that you keep a sample of the vomit so that the doctor will have a better idea on what is specifically wrong with the person.

3. Nausea

Another symptom of ulcer is nausea. Patients will experience mild nausea usually upon waking up in the morning.

This often goes away after the individual had vomiting episodes.

4. Dark or black stool

If your stool is black and sticky, this means that you are experiencing possible internal bleeding.

Another of the signs of an ulcer that requires immediate medical intervention.

5. Weight loss

When the lining of the stomach is damaged, it forms scarred tissue which could cause blockage of food passageway in the stomach. It may also causes swelling of the tissues that goes down the small intestines.

The swollen tissues eventually block food from passing out of the stomach. This results in a false feeling of fullness even though not enough food has been ingested.

Inadequate food intake will result to weight loss. This explains why you feel hungry fairly more frequently, even in just about two hours after eating.

Despite with a stomach that feels full, the nutrients needed by your body in order to function well has not been obtained.

6. Appetite changes

Similar to the explanation above, ulcers can also lead to loss of appetite because of the scarred tissues and swelling that gives the patient a false feeling of fullness.

7. Anemia

Having anemia does not immediately mean that you have developed stomach ulcer.

However, if you have already been diagnosed with stomach ulcer and develop symptoms such as fatigue, paleness, and dizziness, it could now be associated with anemia. These symptoms may indicate that your ulcer is bleeding and that you are possibly suffering from anemia due to the blood loss. This makes manifestations of anemia considerably be among symptoms of a stomach ulcer to watch for.

If this happens, call your doctor at once.

8. Bloating

Another symptom of stomach ulcer is bloating. Bloating can be actually caused by several factors. One of them is the scarring of tissues in the opening of the stomach.

When the scarring happens, food does not move properly and gas build-up develops in the intestines.

9. Acid reflux

Acid reflux is a condition wherein the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t close all the way completely or opens too often which causes stomach acid to move to the esophagus.

This results in heartburn and/or regurgitation.

10. Heartburn

Heartburn doesn’t actually have anything to do with the heart. It is a burning sensation in the chest caused by stomach acid going into the esophagus.

The stomach is an integral part of the digestive system. It is where the food is temporarily stored. Its enzymes and acids chemically break down food and it is also responsible for regulating the entry of food into the small intestines.

A small lesion or sore in the stomach is enough to cause so much discomfort in the body. If left untreated, ulcer can create perforations in the wall of the stomach leading to serious infection in the abdominal cavity.

Stomach Ulcer Treatment & Management

Any internal bleeding could result to anemia; where in severe cases, the patient may require hospitalization and blood transfusion.

If you have experienced several of the symptoms of ulcer as mentioned above, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Having shown signs of stomach ulcer, the doctor will prescribe you medication to kill the bacteria that causes the ulcer. Medication may include proton pump inhibitors that block stomach acid production; antacids that give relief from stomach pain; acid blockers; and other medicines that help protect the lining of the stomach and small intestines.

If used properly, the mere use of medicine can effectively deal with the ulcers.

It is also important to remember that aside from taking medication, lifestyle changes can also contribute to a lot of beneficial effects towards healing:

  • Avoid skipping meals. Make sure to eat a balanced meal with lots of fruits and vegetables to help your body heal faster.
  • You can also switch to pain relievers that do not exacerbate your condition. Ask your doctor for an alternative for aspirin.
  • Curb your appetite for liquor and smoking. Smoking interferes with the protective lining of the stomach so you are more at risk for ulcers. Alcohol irritates and erodes the stomach lining which could cause the bleeding. It’s better to avoid both of them. There are more options out there you can do to achieve adequate relaxation without causing more harm to your body.
  • Last but not the least, release the stress. Stress may not be a cause of ulcer but we can’t deny the fact that stress can affect our health. It weakens us and makes our body more susceptible to diseases. Be wary of possible sources of your stress and avoid them as much as possible. If you find them unavoidable, take measures to decrease its effects on your health through regular exercise and meditation or maybe spending time with your friends. The possibilities are endless!

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