Stomach Ulcer Symptoms
A stomach ulcer is essentially a sore site on the stomach lining which has undergone agitation, erosion and consequent perforation. The ulcers in the stomach are also known as gastric ulcers. However, the most prevalent ulcer is the one which extends beyond the stomach into the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. Typically the size of a gastric ulcer can range anywhere between 1/8 of an inch to ¾ of an inch.
A study revealed that about 20 million Americans develop at least one of them during their lifetime. About 6000 Americans die of ulcer related complications every year.
How do we get a stomach ulcer? – Mechanism
The acidic content in the digestive enzymes and juices, namely, the hydrochloric acid acts on the delicate mucous lining of the stomach and causes massive erosion. It generally happens in a region of the gastrointestinal tract which is excessively acidic. It is an extremely painful condition and has been linked with malignancy. The ulcers in the duodenum are benign most of the times. Research indicates the risk of gastric ulcers increases many fold with the presence of the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori in the gut. Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin can also cause ulcers.
To learn more about stomach ulcers, watch the video below:
Causes at a glance
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria is responsible for this ulcer in 60% of cases and in 90% of cases of duodenal ulcer.
- In older people, stomach cancer may present as gastric ulcer.
- Anti- Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Pepsin can be the reason for the cause of this ulcer.
- Psychological stress, excess secretion of hydrochloric acid are some.
- Smoking is also one of the cause for stomach ulcer.
- Major symptom is the burning sensation in the stomach lasting from anywhere between 30 mins to 3 hours. Stomach pain immediately after the meals and it may even interrupt the night’s sleep. The pain may stay for weeks and again there can be no pain at all for weeks.
- Pain in the abdomen below the ribcage, loss in weight and appetite, indigestion, vomiting are some other symptoms. Drinking milk can relieve one from the pain. Duodenal ulcer patients gain weight due to this ulcer.
- Even pain below the right side of the heart and irritation are some of the symptoms of the stomach ulcer.
- Advanced symptoms of stomach ulcer include sudden and sharp pain in the stomach that lasts for a long period of time, sudden vomiting of blood or fresh food and stools may contain blood.
1. Endoscopy test may confirm the presence of ulcer.
2. Medication can be done to kill the bacteria.
3. Medicines are given to reduce the acidic content of the stomach.
4. Medicines should be taken as a course for 2-3 weeks.
Stomach Ulcer Diet Guidelines
- It is extremely important to avoid periods of complete fasting. This just increases the intensity of the gastric juices. Eat 5 small meals a day with a few healthy snacks in between.
- Eat slowly chewing food well.
- Do not go to bed just after eating food. A stroll or walk prior to bedtime can improve the apparent symptoms of the ulcer.
- Do not take caffeine (tea or coffee) in empty stomach. Reduce the amount of total caffeine intake. Have them close to meal time.
- It is thought that milk taken at regular intervals can neutralize gastric acid. Initially it can do so but in the long term too much lactose can end up stimulating the gastric acid.
- Do not smoke or consume alcohol.
- Stay away from spicy, fatty, oily and hot food.
- Reduce the intake of sodium in food.
- The gastric ulcer diet needs to be low in fat and high in fiber. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits are essentially incorporated. However, it is advisable to stay away from acidic fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits.
- Include low fat dairy with less than 5 grams of fat per ounce.
- Incorporate lean protein in diet like chicken and fish.