Ulcers are more common than you think, and can often be mistaken for other conditions. In this blog post, we’ll go over the causes, symptoms, and treatment of ulcers.
What Is an Ulcer?
An ulcer is a sore that develops on the inside lining of the stomach or upper small intestine. They’re caused by stomach acid eating away at the lining, and can bleed and cause pain. The most common symptom of an ulcer is a burning pain in the upper abdomen.
What Causes an Ulcer?
The most common cause of peptic ulcers is infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Other causes of ulcers include NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen), smoking, drinking alcohol, and stress.
What Are the Common and Rare Symptoms of an Ulcer?
You’re likely to experience a burning sensation in your stomach if you have an ulcer. This pain is often worse when your stomach is empty or when stomach acid is present. Other symptoms include bloating, burping, poor appetite, weight loss, and vomiting.
However, there are other, less common symptoms of an ulcer that you should be aware of. These include: black, tarry stools; vomiting blood; unintended weight loss; and a persistent pain in the upper abdomen.
How Is an Ulcer Diagnosed?
The first step is to rule out any other medical conditions that could be causing your symptoms. Once that’s done, your doctor will likely recommend one or more of the following tests:
- Blood tests: to check for anemia or other problems with your blood
- Stool tests: to check for signs of infection or bleeding
- Endoscopy: a thin, flexible tube is inserted through your mouth so your doctor can see the lining of your esophagus, stomach and small intestine
- X-ray: to check for problems such as a tumor or stricture
How Is an Ulcer Treated?
If you’re worried that you might have an ulcer, the best thing to do is to make an appointment with your doctor. They’ll be able to perform a number of tests in order to diagnose the condition.
Once an ulcer has been confirmed, the treatment plan will be tailored to your specific needs. In most cases, medication will be prescribed in order to help speed up the healing process. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary.
What Are the Complications Associated With an Ulcer?
So you know that an ulcer is a sore or lesion on the inside of the stomach or intestine, but did you know that there are a number of potential complications associated with them?
For one, ulcers can bleed. This is usually a sign that the ulcer is getting worse and that you need to start treatment right away.
Another complication is perforation. This happens when the ulcer pierces through the stomach or intestine wall, and it can be life-threatening. Symptoms include sudden and severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever and ultimately death.
We’re all familiar with the common signs of ulcer such as pain in the stomach area, nausea, and vomiting. But there are other, rarer signs of ulcer that we often ignore.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, don’t wait to see a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing complications from ulcer.
Have any question or need more information on this topic or other health related issues? Speak to our line of professionals at PureLife Pharmacy.