In this article:
What is a stomach ulcer?
Advice & Support
What is a stomach ulcer?
A stomach ulcer can be extremely painful. They generally develop when the membrane that lines the digestive system erodes. This can be due to a range of causes and factors.
Before the development of antibiotic treatment, stomach ulcers were life-threatening conditions. The only life-saving treatment available was for large sections of the digestive tract to be removed. Failure to do this would mean the person with the ulcer may die from a haemorrhage.
Symptoms of a stomach ulcer include:
Pain in the upper abdomen
Other associated symptoms include:
Passing blood in stools
Shortness of breath
Loss of appetite
Although lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and missing meals can all contribute to the development of a stomach ulcer, the core reason they develop is because of a certain type of bacteria.
The H. pylori bacteria gradually corrodes the stomach lining. An ulcer forms. Due to the natural acidic content in the stomach and intestine being present, the ulcer is never given respite – there is not enough time for it to heal properly before the H. pylori bacteria begins its corrosive action again. And so the sufferer is in a dangerous cycle of never being able to recover from their ulcer.
Note: Some stomach ulcers are caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
If you are experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, make an appointment with your GP immediately. The sooner you can receive proper diagnosis and recommendation for appropriate treatment, the sooner you can ‘control’ your ulcer and take steps towards clearing it up.
Your GP will take your medical history, ask you some questions about your symptoms, and then carry out a series of tests. These could include a blood test and a stool test in order to check for the presence of the H. pylori virus.
To achieve a confirmed diagnosis you will be referred to a specialist where you will be asked to undergo an endoscopy. This is where a medical professional passes a thin flexible telescope down your throat in order to get a clearer picture of the lining of your stomach.
Most stomach ulcers clear up quickly with a course of antibiotics. Lifestyle changes will also be recommended with a strong focus upon diet.
Advice & Support
Tel: 020 7486 0341
The Gut Trust
Tel: 0114 272 3253
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