Peptic ulcers or gastric ulcers are very common in the recent times. A lot of people suffer from it. According to a leading gastroenterologist in Kolkata, the medical condition involves the formation of open sores inside the stomach lining as well as the upper half of the small intestine.
Talking to medical experts at one of the best gastroenterology hospitals in Kolkata reveals, peptic ulcers can be broadly divided into two categories:
- Gastric ulcers - found inside a patient's stomach and
- Duodenal ulcers - found in the upper portion of the duodenum or the small intestine
Some of the common causes of peptic ulcers include the following:
- Consuming aspirin for a lengthy span of time at a stretch
- An attack of Helicobacter pylori bacterium or H. pylori and
- Using non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs like Aleve, Advil, and others
Here's a point to be noted. Spicy food and mental stress don't lead you to peptic ulcers. However, they certainly make your condition worse.
Symptoms of gastric ulcers
The typical symptoms of gastric ulcers cases include:
- A burning sensation in the stomach with acute pain
- Bloating, belching accompanied by the feeling of fullness in the stomach
- A strong desire to avoid fatty foods
The organic acid present in the stomach to digest foods makes the stomach pain more unbearable. Even if you go empty stomach, the pain doesn't subside. However, there may be temporary relief on eating certain food items that buffer the acid. There are also some antacids that serve the same purpose. But once the food gets digested or the action of the antacid runs out, the pain comes back on its own. Usually, patients complain about the pain getting worse at night and in between meals.
Interestingly, not all peptic ulcer patients experience the symptoms discussed above. According to a research carried out across the top-notch gastroenterology clinics in the city recently reveals, as many as about 75% of the patients don't have those symptoms. However, a handful number of them may show severe symptoms, which include:
- Repeated vomiting or vomiting blood
- Dark stool due to blood loss
- Severe weight loss
- Changes in appetite
To be on the safer side, it is always advised to consult a doctor if you show any of the signs mentioned above. In case, you suffer from any of the severe symptoms, you must see a doctor immediately. Usually, people pop in over-the-counter antacids in such cases. According to a veteran medical expert involved in gastroenterology tests and procedures in the city, this approach is fine.
But when you see the pain returns after a temporary relief, you shouldn't waste time for undergoing a proper medical diagnosis to check if you have gastric ulcers.
Formation of sore
In layman's words, peptic ulcer occurs as a result of the acid in your digestive tract eating away the inner surface of your stomach or the duodenum. This leads to the formation of a sore, which is painful and may also bleed. To keep you safe from the acid, your digestive tract has a coating or layer of mucus. In abnormal conditions, this mucus layer may wear away or the acid level may increase. Whichever way it is, these abnormal conditions may lead to the development of the gastric ulcers.
Increased risk factors
Apart from consuming NSAIDs, certain factors are known to increase your risk for peptic ulcers. These include:
- Smoking or any form of tobacco consumption
- Regular intake of alcohol
- Living on hot, spicy foods
- Heavy mental stress
Cases of peptic ulcer that include these factors are more complicated and very difficult to heal.
If such ulcer cases are left untreated, they lead to further complexities.
The ulcer may cause internal bleeding, leading a patient to anemia.
The ulcer may block your food passage, causing your loss of appetite and vomiting immediately after a meal.
In extreme cases, the ulcer can spread to your abdominal cavity or peritonitis.
Thankfully modern medicine has advanced a lot, making it easier for effective gastric ulcers treatment and prevention. Wash your hands properly with soap, every time before a meal. Avoid having over-the-counter pain-relieving medicines. At least, you must use them cautiously. If you have to take NSAIDs, ask your doctor to prescribe you a preventive medication along with it.
Follow these tips and your chances of developing peptic ulcers will be much less.