Symptoms Of Ulcers
A Complete Guide to the Symptoms of Ulcers
If you are one of those people who is afraid you have an ulcer, this guide to the symptoms of ulcers can help you determine once and for all if you really have an ulcer or not. An ulcer is a sore that forms in the stomach and there are three different types of ulcers in humans.
Three types of ulcers
The least common ulcer is found in the esophagus and is known as an esophageal ulcer. Another type, the duodenal ulcer, forms in the duodenum which is at the entrance of the small intestine. The most common type of ulcer is gastric (stomach) ulcer. Both duodenum and stomach ulcers are also called peptic ulcers.
The ulcer itself can be any size from a quarter of an inch to as much as two inches across. What happens first to allow ulcer formation is that the lining of the stomach is damaged in some way. This allows the pepsin and hydrochloric acid which dissolves food in the stomach to enter the stomach lining and start to damage it. One element of this damage is the formation of ulcers.
An ulcer that is not treated properly can become a bleeding ulcer or a perforated ulcer which can cause many more problems. A bleeding ulcer has damaged blood vessels and allowed blood to go into the digestive tract. A perforated ulcer occurs when the ulcer eats a hole in the stomach or duodenum. When this happens, food can also enter the hole and a nasty inflammation sets in. The inflammation can block the intestinal opening and make food remain in the stomach, unable to escape. This can cause great distress and lead to hospitalization in serious cases.
Ordinarily, the stomach makes mucus to coat the stomach tissue. Blood also circulates to repair damaged cells. But when an ulcer develops, Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, a bacterium, gets through the mucus coating and attaches itself to the wall of the stomach. Urease is produced (an enzyme which makes ammonia). This chemical makes the stomach more susceptible to damage and the stomach’s own juices eat away at the stomach wall.
Do you have symptoms of ulcers?
Unfortunately, sometimes ulcers have no symptoms at all. But many times they do, and if you recognize that you have a few of these symptoms, it’s time to see a doctor to see if you have an ulcer or not.
Symptoms of ulcers include burning and pain in your abdomen (especially in the center area from the belly button to the breast), vomiting or nausea, weakness, fatigue, no appetite, or weight loss. Some people cough up blood while others have blood in their stools or stools which are colored black. This is a sign of a bleeding ulcer.
Causes of ulcers
There can be many different causes of ulcers. Taking NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen or piroxicam can contribute to the problem by breaking down the mucus coating covering the wall of the stomach. Ulcers are also thought to be caused by your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Stress has been noted as a major cause of ulcers but today some scientists are changing their thinking to report that emotional stress causes ulcer pain but not the ulcer itself.
If you have symptoms of ulcers, see your doctor as soon as possible. A bleeding ulcer can be life threatening if left untreated. Medications are usually the first approach to ulcer treatment followed by surgery if unsuccessful. Sometimes antibiotics are used as well.
Never ignore ulcer symptoms but seek treatment immediately.