Stomach ulcer (also called peptic ulcer or gastric ulcer) refers to a painful sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum (first part of the small intestine).
Four times as many gastric or peptic ulcers occur in the duodenum as in the stomach itself.
What causes Stomach Ulcers?
There is no single cause that is associated with stomach ulcers. What is known is that ulcers result from imbalance of the digestive fluids in the stomach and the duodenum.
-Almost 60% of gastric and up to 90% of duodenal ulcers are caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. H.pylori which may be transmitted from person to person through contaminated food and water stimulates the stomach cells (parietal cells) to produce more stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) that cause irritation in the lining of the stomach.
- Gastrinomas (Zollinger Ellison syndrome) are tumors of the acid producing cells in the stomach that increase the release of acid. Excess acid may corrode the lining of the stomach and produce stomach ulcers.
-Ulcers have also been found to be caused by prolonged usage of non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen .These drugs are taken as anti-inflammatory drug for arthritis, muscular pains, etc.
Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers
-The most common symptom that presents with every stomach ulcer is consistent pain and discomfort in the stomach. The pain may present itself daily and then is followed by periods of no pain; it may come and go for no apparent reason.
- Abdominal pain which may have an increased severity relating to mealtimes, such as 3 hours after eating (a duodenal ulcer may experience relief after eating while a gastric ulcer may be further irritated by consumption of food)
-Bloating and a feeling of abdominal fullness
-Nausea, followed by excessive vomiting
- Waterbrash (over production of saliva after vomiting and occurs as a way to dilute the acid in the esophagus.
-Loss of appetite and weight loss.
In severe cases, symptoms include
-Hematemesis (throwing up blood), which can be a result of bleeding from the gastric ulcer, or from esophageal damage because of continuous vomiting.
-Dark or black stools due to bleeding from the ulcer
Is a Stomach Ulcer Serious?
Many stomach ulcers heal on their own. However, it is important to seek medical attention if you believe you have a stomach ulcer. If not properly treated, stomach ulcers can lead to serious health problems, including:
-A hole through the wall of the stomach
-Gastric outlet obstruction from swelling or scarring that blocks the passageway leading from the stomach to the small intestine.
Disclaimer-Please note that the information provided by Health200 is for educational purposes only and therefore proper diagnosis of stomach ulcers and treatment should be done by a trained medical personnel. Visit your doctor if you experience some of the symptoms mentioned above.
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Wikipedia Contributor. (2013, January 19). Peptic ulcer. Retrieved from Wikipedia.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peptic_ulcer