Complications of stomach ulcers are relatively uncommon, but they can be very serious if they do occur.
Some of the main complications are outlined below.
Internal bleeding is the most common complication of stomach ulcers. It can occur when an ulcer develops at the site of a blood vessel.
The bleeding can either be:
You should visit your GP if you have persistent symptoms of anaemia. If they think you may have a stomach ulcer, they may refer you to a gastroenterologist for an examination and treatment.
Contact your GP or NHS 111 immediately, or go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department , if you have symptoms of more severe bleeding.
An endoscopy will be used to identify the cause of the bleeding and treatment can be given during the endoscopy to stop the bleeding. Sometimes, specialised procedures carried out under X-ray guidance are used to stop bleeding ulcers, although surgery may occasionally be required to repair the affected blood vessel.
Blood transfusions may also be needed to replace the blood you've lost.
A rarer complication of stomach ulcers is the lining of the stomach splitting open, known as perforation.
This can be very serious, because it enables the bacteria that live in your stomach to escape and infect the lining of your abdomen (peritoneum). This is known as peritonitis.
In peritonitis, an infection can rapidly spread into the blood ( sepsis ) before spreading to other organs. This carries the risk of multiple organ failure, and can be fatal if left untreated.
The most common symptom of peritonitis is sudden abdominal pain, which gets steadily worse. If you have this type of pain, contact your GP immediately. If this isn't possible, call NHS 111 or your local out-of-hours service .
Peritonitis is a medical emergency that requires hospital admission. In some cases, surgery may be needed.
In some cases, an inflamed (swollen) or scarred stomach ulcer can obstruct the normal passage of food through your digestive system. This is known as gastric outlet obstruction.
Symptoms can include:
An endoscopycan be used toconfirm the obstruction. If the obstruction is caused by inflammation, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H2-receptor antagonists can be used to reduce stomach acid levels until the swelling goes down.
If the obstruction is caused by scar tissue, surgery may be needed to treat it, although it can sometimes be treated by passing a small balloon through an endoscope and inflating it to widen the site of the obstruction.
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.