What is a stomach ulcer? Stomach ulcers, which are also known as gastric ulcers, are painful sores in the stomach lining. Stomach ulcers are a type of peptic ulcer disease. Peptic ulcers are any ulcers that affect both the stomach and small intestines. Stomach ulcers occur when the thick layer of mucus that protects your stomach from digestive juices is reduced. This allows the digestive acids to eat away at the tissues that line the stomach, causing an ulcer. Stomach ulcers may be easily cured, but they can become severe without proper treatment.
What causes stomach ulcers? Stomach ulcers are almost always caused by one of the following:
– An infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
– Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
Rarely, a condition known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers by increasing the body’s production of acid. This syndrome is suspected to cause less than 1 percent of all peptic ulcers.
Symptoms of stomach ulcers: A number of symptoms are associated with stomach ulcers. The severity of the symptoms depends on the severity of the ulcer. The most common symptom is a burning sensation or pain in the middle of your abdomen between your chest and belly button. Typically, the pain will be more intense when your stomach is empty, and it can last for a few minutes to several hours. Other common signs and symptoms of ulcers include; dull pain in the stomach, weight loss, not wanting to eat because of pain, nausea or vomiting, bloating, feeling easily full, burping or acid reflux, heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the chest), pain that may improve when you eat, drink, or take antacids, anemia, whose symptoms can include tiredness, shortness of breath, or paler skin, dark, tarry stools, vomit that’s bloody or looks like coffee grounds.
No one knows for sure how H. pylori spreads or why some people develop peptic ulcers without being infected with H. pylori, so prevention is difficult. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine to prevent infection.
Here are 4 helpful tips to prevent or allow healing of ulcers:
1. Avoid foods that irritate your stomach. Use common sense: If it upsets your stomach when you eat it, avoid it. Everyone is different, but spicy foods, citrus fruits, and fatty foods are common irritants.
2. Stop smoking: Heavy smokers are more likely to develop duodenal ulcers than nonsmokers.
3. Practice moderation and learn how to control your stress levels: Heavy consumption of alcohol and has been shown to contribute to the development of ulcers, so keep your intake to a minimum. Also, regular exercise and mind-body relaxation techniques (such as guided imagery and yoga or tai chi) are often helpful.
4. Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS including aspirin and ibuprofen) with food, as this may decrease your risk of irritating the lining of your stomach.
Remember to see your doctor for checkup if you’re experiencing stomach ulcer symptoms. Visit www.theboxshowafrica.com for more information.