The term always reminds us the importance of taking 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 a lot of people always practice in managing stress which in the long run could actually result to worse problems.
Stomach ulcer is just one of the health concerns that can 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 as well as regular use of pain relievers such as aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Stomach Ulcer Symptoms
To give a clear 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 the degree of acidity the substance contain. 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.
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
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 the food’s passageway in the stomach. It may also causes swelling of the tissues that extends 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 suddenly feel hungry fairly more frequently, even in just about two hours after eating.
Despite a feeling of full stomach, 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.
Having anemia does not immediately mean that you have developed stomach ulcer.
However, if you have already been diagnosed with stomach ulcer and developed symptoms such as fatigue, paleness, and dizziness, it could be associated with anemia.
The symptoms may indicate that your ulcer is bleeding and that you are possibly suffering from anemia due to the blood loss. This makes any manifestations of anemia considerably be among symptoms of a stomach ulcer to watch for.
If this happens, call your doctor at once.
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, causing stomach acid to move to the esophagus.
This results in heartburn and/or regurgitation.
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. The enzymes and acids in the stomach 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.
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