Gastric Ulcers: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment of Peptic Ulcer Disease

Gastric

and Health

What is Gastric Ulcer?

Gastric ulcer, also known as ‘peptic ulcer’ or ‘stomach ulcer’, is a type of ulcer which develops in the lining of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. It is caused by an imbalance between the digestive juices present in the stomach and the stomach’s natural protective lining.

Causes of Gastric Ulcer

The most common cause of gastric ulcer is the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which can be found in about two-thirds of people with gastric ulcers. Other food- or lifestyle-related causes of gastric ulcers include smoking, alcohol consumption, certain medications (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs), an unbalanced diet, and stress.

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Symptoms of Gastric Ulcer

The most common symptom of a gastric ulcer is an ongoing pain or discomfort in the stomach area. It is typically felt in the top of the abdomen. Other symptoms of a gastric ulcer may include:

  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Blood in vomit or stool

Treatment of Gastric Ulcer

Treatment for gastric ulcers will vary depending on the underlying cause.

Treatment for H. Pylori Infection:

If an individual has an H.Pylori infection, the most common treatment regimen is a combination of antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).

Dietary Changes:

The affected individual should avoid food and drinks known to worsen peptic ulcers, such as alcohol and highly acidic foods. Smoking and the use of NSAIDs should also be avoided. Eating smaller meals throughout the day can also help to soothe symptoms.

Surgery:

In some cases, surgery is necessary to remove a large or persistently bleeding ulcer. Laparoscopic or robotic surgery can be used to remove the ulcer and repair the damaged area of the stomach.

Preventing Gastric Ulcers

  • Quit smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of developing a gastric ulcer, as well as make them more difficult to treat.
  • Avoid NSAIDs: When possible, avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Limit or avoid alcohol consumption as it can make symptoms of an ulcer worse.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Drinking plenty of fluids can help to maintain the balance of acid in the stomach and soothe ulcer symptoms.
  • Reduce stress: Stress can worsen symptoms of ulcers, so finding ways to reduce stress levels may help to prevent and treat the condition.

Conclusion

Gastric or peptic ulcers are caused by an imbalance between the digestive juices and the stomach’s natural protective lining, and can lead to discomfort, pain, and even bleeding in some cases. To prevent and treat the condition, quitting smoking, avoiding NSAIDs, limiting alcohol consumption, drinking plenty of fluids, and reducing stress levels can be helpful. Treatment may include antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, dietary changes, and even surgery in some cases. If you believe you may have a gastric ulcer, it is important to speak to a doctor to receive a proper diagnosis and find the best plan of action for your needs.

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