Stomach ulcers are usually caused by Helicobacter pylori ( H. pylori) bacteriaor non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
These can break down the stomach's defence against the acid it produces to digest food, allowing the stomach lining to become damaged and an ulcer to form.
H. pylori infections are common, and it's possible to be infected without realising it, because the infection doesn't usually cause symptoms. The bacteria live in the stomach lining and people of all ages can be infected.
However, in some people, the bacteria can irritate the stomach lining and make it more vulnerable to damage from the stomach acid. It's not clear exactly why some people are morevulnerable to the effects of H. pylori bacteria than others.
NSAIDs are medicines widely used to treat pain, a high temperature (fever) and inflammation (swelling).
Commonly used NSAIDsinclude:
Many people take NSAIDs without having any side effects, but there's always a risk the medication could cause problems, such as stomach ulcers, particularly if taken for along time or at high doses.
You may be advised not to use NSAIDs if you currently have a stomach ulcer or if you have had one in the past. Paracetamol can often be used as an alternative painkiller, as it's generally considered safer.
It used to be thought that stomach ulcersmay becaused by certain lifestyle factors, such as spicy foods, stress and alcohol.
There is little hard evidence to confirm that this is the case, but these factors maymake the symptoms of ulcers worse.
However, it is thought that smoking increases your risk of developing stomach ulcers and may make treatment less effective.
Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are open sores that develop on the lining of the stomach. Read about the possible symptoms, causes, treatments and complications.
The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain that develops inyourabdomen (tummy). However, some stomach ulcers aren't painful and are only noticed when a complication of a stomach ulcer develops.
Stomach ulcers are usually caused by H. pylori bacteria or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Your GP may suspect you have an ulcer, based on your symptoms. They will want to know if you're taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and may test you for an Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection.
If you have a stomach ulcer, your treatment will depend on what caused it. With treatment, most ulcers heal in a month or two. If your stomach ulcer is caused by an Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infection, a course of Penicillin and a medication called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) is recommended.
Complications of stomach ulcers are relatively uncommon, but they can be very serious if they do occur. Internal bleeding is the most common complication of stomach ulcers. A rarer complication of stomach ulcers is the lining of the stomach splitting open, known as perforation.
Ulcers of the stomach are painful sores which can be found in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum. This is a long-term chronic disease, which is characterized by intermittent periods of remission and relapse.
Some of the causes of ulcers are: the bacterium Helicobacter pylori Hyperacidity of the stomach, the long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a rare syndrome which leads to hyperacidity.
Complaining of a stomach ache is a very broad complaint, the physician must ask further questions in order to summarize all the symptoms carefully and thoroughly.
Stomach ulcers are diagnosed by: blood tests in order to test for presence of H.pylori, fibrogastroscopy, X-ray of the stomach and biopsy via a fibrogastroscopy.
Ulcers are treated by using medication such as: antibiotics to fight the H.pylori infection, H2 blockers, etc. And surgical treatment that include: ulcers that continue to return, ulcers that do not heal, etc.
Some complications that may occur from peptic ulcer are: hemorrhage, stenosis of the duodenum and perforation of the stomach.