Stomach ulcer

What is a stomach ulcer?

A stomach ulcer is a small wound on the lining of the stomach. But due to the destructive action of stomach acids, it is very difficult for it to heal itself.

Stomach ulcer is among the types of peptic ulcer. The most common type of peptic ulcer is duodenal ulcer.

A peptic ulcer is called the ulcer caused by the action of stomach acid. A peptic ulcer is the area where the lining of the digestive system is damaged.

Thus the main tissue, the one from which the organ itself is built, is exposed to the destructive action of stomach acid.

What causes a stomach ulcer?

The stomach produces acid that helps digest food and kill bacteria.

But this acid has a corrosive effect. Some cells of the inner lining of the stomach and duodenum secrete mucus, which protects the mucous membranes from the destructive action of acid.

Usually there is a balance between the amount of stomach acid produced and the secretion of mucus.

However, when it is disrupted, the mucosa is left unprotected and this allows the acid to damage it.

What are the symptoms of an ulcer?

Symptoms of an ulcer can vary depending on the extent of the disease and can manifest differently in different patients.

The main symptom of an ulcer is pain in the upper abdomen, just below the breastbone. This pain is usually not constant and can be felt after certain periods, usually between meals or at night.

Sometimes when eating or after consuming food, acidic drinks or alcohol, the pain increases.

In some cases, the pain can be so intense that it interferes with the patient’s normal daily activities.

An ulcer can also cause other symptoms that are related to the digestive system. For example, abdominal distension may be seen frequently in affected patients, especially after meals.

Some of them may also experience nausea, and in some cases even vomiting. These symptoms are related to the impaired digestive function of the affected area.

Besides these basic symptoms, an ulcer can also lead to other problems and conditions. For example, when the ulcer is bleeding, the patient may feel tired and weak.

If there is bloody or dark red stool, this may be a sign of bleeding in the digestive system and requires immediate medical attention.

When an ulcer is diagnosed, it is important to start appropriate treatment to prevent complications and facilitate the patient’s recovery.

This usually involves taking medicines that reduce stomach acid, such as proton pump inhibitors, and antibiotics if there is an infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which is associated with ulcers.

In some cases, when drugs are not effective or there are serious complications, surgical treatment may also be necessary.

It is important that affected individuals follow a special diet that does not burden the digestive system and helps to achieve a faster recovery.

This usually includes avoiding spicy, fatty and acidic foods, alcohol and smoking.

The reasons for this are as follows:

  • Poor digestion
  • Undiagnosed diseases
  • Infection caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, as in 8 out of 10 cases of stomach ulcers, this bacterium is the cause of the disease. Many people who contract the bacteria do not show any symptoms. The bacterium simply lives harmlessly in the lining of the stomach and duodenum. However, sometimes the bacterium causes inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach. The infection suppresses the secretion of mucus or causes the production of stomach acid to increase. In both cases, the surface tissue of the stomach is destroyed and ulcers appear.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac may affect the secretion of mucus the stomach. This allows the acid to cause ulcers.
  • In very rare cases, stomach ulcers can also be caused by certain viral infections and Crohn’s disease. strong>

Complications of gastric ulcer

In some cases, it is possible to develop complications that are significantly serious such as:

  • Ulcer Bleeding – One of the most common complications of a stomach ulcer is bleeding from the affected area. Bleeding can be light and unnoticeable, with only a few drops of blood appearing on the dining table or in the stomach contents. However, in some cases, the bleeding can be profuse and pose a serious threat to the patient’s life. If bleeding is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
  • Ulcer Perforation – Perforation is a perforation of the stomach or intestinal wall by the ulcer. This is an extremely serious complication that results in spillage of stomach contents and bacteria into the abdominal cavity. This can cause severe pain, infection and peritonitis – inflammation of the peritoneum, which is a membrane that covers the organs in the abdominal cavity.
  • Stenosis (narrowing) of the stomach opening – In long-term or an inappropriately treated stomach ulcer, a narrowing of the stomach opening can form, which makes it difficult for food to pass from the stomach to the intestines.

Treatment of a stomach ulcer

Medications are taken between 4 and 8 weeks, which significantly reduce the production of stomach acid.

The most commonly used group of drugs are proton pump inhibitors, they act on stomach cells and suppress acid production.

These are usually the following medications: esomeprazole, lansoprazole and omeprazole under their various trade names.

Another class of drugs is sometimes prescribed – H2 receptor antagonists, also known as H2 blockers – famotidine, nizatidine and ranitidine. And as the acid in the stomach decreases, the ulcer heals.

But if the stomach ulcer is caused by Helicobacter pylori, it is very likely that the ulcer will reappear after taking the drugs that reduce the production of stomach acid.

Therefore, a combination therapy is applied by taking proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers and antibiotics to destroy the causative bacteria.

If the ulcer is caused by medication, it is prescribed to stop taking it.

How can we protect ourselves?

Our lifestyle and habits can reduce the risk of stomach ulcers, for example:

  • Give up cigarettes and any other use of tobacco
  • Healthy diet – regular consumption of fruits and vegetables and whole grains< /li>
  • Not more than 50 ml. hard alcohol daily.
  • You should not drink alcohol if you are taking medication.
  • Wash your hands more often, to to protect yourself from infections.
  • Limit the use of ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen sodium.

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