Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are open sores that develop on the lining of the stomach.
Ulcers can also occur in part of the intestine just beyond the stomach these are known as duodenal ulcers.
Both stomach and duodenal ulcers are sometimes referred to as peptic ulcers. Here the term stomach ulcer will be used, although the information applies equally to duodenal ulcers.
The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain in the centre of the abdomen (tummy).
However, stomach ulcers aren't always painful and some people may experience other symptoms, such as Indigestion, heartburn and feeling sick.
Seek urgent medical advice if you experience any of the following symptoms:
These could be a sign of a serious complication, such as internal bleeding (see below).
Stomach ulcers occur when the layer that protects the stomach lining from stomach acid breaks down, which allows the stomach lining to become damaged.
This is usually a result of :
It used to be thought that stress or certain foods might cause stomach ulcers, but there's little evidence to suggest this is the case.
Some studies havefound that around 1 in 10 peoplemay get astomach ulcer at some point in their life.
Stomach ulcers can affect people of any age, including children, but mostly occur in people aged 60 or over. Men are more commonly affected than women.
With treatment, most stomach ulcers will heal within a month or two. The treatment recommended for you will depend on what caused the ulcer.
Most people will be prescribed a medication called a proton pump inhibitor(PPI) to reduce the amount of acid their stomach produces, and allow the ulcer to heal naturally.
If an H. pylori infection is responsible for the ulcers, antibiotics will also be used to kill the bacteria, which should prevent the ulcer coming back.
If the ulcers are caused by the use of NSAIDs,PPIs are usually prescribed and your doctor will discuss whether you should keep using NSAIDs. Alternative medication to NSAIDs, such as paracetamol, may be recommended.
Stomach ulcers can come back after treatment, although this is less likely to happen if the underlying cause is addressed.
Complications of stomach ulcers are relatively uncommon, but they can be very serious and potentially life-threatening.
The main complicationsinclude:
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.