A stomach or gastric ulcer is a break in the tissue lining the stomach. The term ‘peptic ulcer’ refers to those that occur in either the stomach or the first part of the small intestine that leads out of the stomach, called the duodenum.
It was once commonly thought that stress, smoking and diet were the principal causes of stomach ulcers. However, the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium is now known to be responsible for most duodenal ulcers and 60 per cent of stomach ulcers.
The H. pylori bacterium also prompts many symptoms of dyspepsia, or indigestion.
Treatment for stomach ulcers includes the use of antibiotics to kill the infection, and acid-suppressing drugs.
Some stomach ulcers don’t produce any symptoms. If symptoms do present, they can include abdominal pain just below the rib cage, indigestion, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting or weight loss.
More severe symptoms include bright or altered blood present in vomit or bowel motions or light-headedness.
Medications, including antibiotics, can be used to destroy the H. pylori colony and you can also take drugs to help speed the healing process.
In some cases, different drugs need to be used in combination, which can cause side-effects such as diarrhoea and rashes. However, the doses of arthritis medication, aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medication can be altered slightly to reduce their contributing effects on the stomach ulcer.
Once the treatment process has finished, your doctor may schedule subsequent breath tests to make sure the infection has been treated successfully.
Have you ever had a stomach ulcer? How long did you suffer with it before you sought treatment?
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Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.