About gastric ulcer
What is gastric ulcer?
Though ulcers often heal on their own, you shouldn't ignore their warning signs. If not properly treated, ulcers can lead to serious health problems, including:
- Perforation (a hole through the wall of the stomach)
- Gastric outlet obstruction from swelling or scarring that blocks the passageway leading from the stomach to the small intestine
Taking NSAIDs can lead to an ulcer without any warning. The risk is especially concerning for the elderly and for those with a prior history of having peptic ulcer disease.
What are the symptoms for gastric ulcer?
The most common peptic ulcer symptom is burning Stomach pain. Stomach acid makes the pain worse, as does having an empty stomach. The pain can often be relieved by eating certain foods that buffer stomach acid or by taking an acid-reducing medication, but then it may come back. The pain may be worse between meals and at night.
Many people with peptic ulcers don't even have symptoms.
Less often, ulcers may cause severe signs or symptoms such as:
- Vomiting or Vomiting blood — which may appear red or
- Dark blood in stools, or stools that are or tarry
- Trouble breathing
- Feeling faint
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Unexplained Weight loss
- Appetite changes
What are the causes for gastric ulcer?
Peptic ulcers occur when acid in the digestive tract eats away at the inner surface of the stomach or small intestine. The acid can create a painful open sore that may bleed.
Your digestive tract is coated with a mucous layer that normally protects against acid. But if the amount of acid is increased or the amount of mucus is decreased, you could develop an ulcer.
Common causes include:
A bacterium. Helicobacter pylori bacteria commonly live in the mucous layer that covers and protects tissues that line the stomach and small intestine. Often, the H. pylori bacterium causes no problems, but it can cause inflammation of the stomach's inner layer, producing an ulcer.
It's not clear how H. pylori infection spreads. It may be transmitted from person to person by close contact, such as kissing. People may also contract H. pylori through food and water.
- Regular use of certain pain relievers. Taking aspirin, as well as certain over-the-counter and prescription pain medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) , can irritate or inflame the lining of your stomach and small intestine. These medications include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox DS, others), ketoprofen and others. They do not include acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
- Other medications. Taking certain other medications along with NSAIDs, such as steroids, anticoagulants, low-dose aspirin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), alendronate (Fosamax) and risedronate (Actonel), can greatly increase the chance of developing ulcers.
What are the treatments for gastric ulcer?
Treatment for peptic ulcers depends on the cause. Usually treatment will involve killing the H. pylori bacterium if present, eliminating or reducing use of NSAIDs if possible, and helping your ulcer to heal with medication.
Medications can include:
Antibiotic medications to kill H. pylori. If H. pylori is found in your digestive tract, your doctor may recommend a combination of antibiotics to kill the bacterium. These may include amoxicillin (Amoxil), clarithromycin (Biaxin), metronidazole (Flagyl), tinidazole (Tindamax), tetracycline and levofloxacin.
The antibiotics used will be determined by where you live and current antibiotic resistance rates. You'll likely need to take antibiotics for two weeks, as well as additional medications to reduce stomach acid, including a proton pump inhibitor and possibly bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol).
Medications that block acid production and promote healing. Proton pump inhibitors — also called PPIs — reduce stomach acid by blocking the action of the parts of cells that produce acid. These drugs include the prescription and over-the-counter medications omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), esomeprazole (Nexium) and pantoprazole (Protonix).
Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors, particularly at high doses, may increase your risk of hip, wrist and spine fracture. Ask your doctor whether a calcium supplement may reduce this risk.
Medications to reduce acid production. Acid blockers — also called histamine (H-2) blockers — reduce the amount of stomach acid released into your digestive tract, which relieves ulcer pain and encourages healing.
Available by prescription or over the counter, acid blockers include the medications famotidine (Pepcid AC), cimetidine (Tagamet HB) and nizatidine (Axid AR).
Antacids that neutralize stomach acid. Your doctor may include an antacid in your drug regimen. Antacids neutralize existing stomach acid and can provide rapid pain relief. Side effects can include constipation or diarrhea, depending on the main ingredients.
Antacids can provide symptom relief but generally aren't used to heal your ulcer.
Medications that protect the lining of your stomach and small intestine. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications called cytoprotective agents that help protect the tissues that line your stomach and small intestine.
Options include the prescription medications sucralfate (Carafate) and misoprostol (Cytotec).
Follow-up after initial treatment
Treatment for peptic ulcers is often successful, leading to ulcer healing. But if your symptoms are severe or if they continue despite treatment, your doctor may recommend endoscopy to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms.
If an ulcer is detected during endoscopy, your doctor may recommend another endoscopy after your treatment to make sure your ulcer has healed. Ask your doctor whether you should undergo follow-up tests after your treatment.
Ulcers that fail to heal
Peptic ulcers that don't heal with treatment are called refractory ulcers. There are many reasons why an ulcer may fail to heal, including:
- Not taking medications according to directions
- The fact that some types of H. pylori are resistant to antibiotics
- Regular use of tobacco
- Regular use of pain relievers — such as NSAIDs — that increase the risk of ulcers
Less often, refractory ulcers may be a result of:
- Extreme overproduction of stomach acid, such as occurs in Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
- An infection other than H. pylori
- Stomach cancer
- Other diseases that may cause ulcerlike sores in the stomach and small intestine, such as Crohn's disease
Treatment for refractory ulcers generally involves eliminating factors that may interfere with healing, along with using different antibiotics.
If you have a serious complication from an ulcer, such as acute bleeding or a perforation, you may require surgery. However, surgery is needed far less often now than previously because of the many effective medications available.
What are the risk factors for gastric ulcer?
In addition to having risks related to taking NSAIDs, you may have an increased risk of peptic ulcers if you:
- Smoke. Smoking may increase the risk of peptic ulcers in people who are infected with H. pylori.
- Drink alcohol. Alcohol can irritate and erode the mucous lining of your stomach, and it increases the amount of stomach acid that's produced.
- Have untreated stress.
- Eat spicy foods.
Alone, these factors do not cause ulcers, but they can make ulcers worse and more difficult to heal.
Is there a cure/medications for gastric ulcer?
Gastric ulcer, also known as peptic ulcer, is a condition that develops in the stomach. It usually occurs with a sore lining in the esophagus. The primary cause of gastric ulcers is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It restricts the stomach’s ability to produce acid that helps in digesting the food consumed.
Medications recommended for gastric ulcers:
- If the gastric ulcers are caused by the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria, then the doctor prescribes antibiotics. These antibiotics will destroy the bacteria and prevent the ulcers from returning.
- If gastric ulcers are caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), then proton pump inhibitor (PPI) treatment is advised. Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, and Lansoprazole are the most common forms of PPI used for curing gastric ulcers.
- Another alternative course of action will be to consume paracetamol, which is also considered by many.
- Adding ingredients such as flavonoids, honey, garlic, and cranberries to the food diet is another way that helps in the reduction of gastric ulcers.
Gastric ulcers are quite often curable within a few months. However, there are chances of ulcers returning if proper treatment is not considered immediately before the condition worsens.
Unexpected weight loss,Trouble in breathing,Black stools or blood in stools,Vomiting blood which might usually appear red or in color,Change in appetite
Esomeprazole (Nexium),Lansoprazole (Prevacid),Dexlansoprazole (Dexilant),Pantoprazole (Protonix),Omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid),Rabeprazole (AcipHex)
The symptoms of gastric ulcers are usually accompanied by stomach pain, heartburn, Nausea, bloating, or feeling full