When you have been diagnosed with stomach ulcers, it means that you have developed small breaks in the tissue that lines the stomach. These breaks and holes can cause a reasonable amount of pain, primarily because there is nearly continuous leaking of stomach acid through it. These "little" holes can be anywhere from 1/8 "to" "and are most often found along the intestines. Left untreated, they can become bigger and your condition will worsen.
Symptoms Associated with Stomach Ulcers
Stomach pain is the primary symptom of ulcers of the stomach and it can be so extreme that it wakes you up in the middle of the night. The pain is generally located in the upper abdomen or just below the breastbone. It usually occurs within a few hours of eating, and the only way to quiet it down is to eat something, anything. This just may be the reason that most sufferers report gaining too much weight, even though it causes them abdominal pain.
Other symptoms associated with this condition can include, oddly enough, loss of appetite in some, followed by weight loss. Nausea, vomiting, bloody vomit, bloody stool, and swelling of the abdomen. Lastly, ulcer sufferers also report feeling a burning sensation in the stomach that may last anywhere from 30 minutes, to 3 hours.
What Causes Stomach Ulcers
There are any number of causes that can be linked to this condition. Stress, smoking and too much alcohol are some of the very common causes. If there is a history of ulcers in the family, you may be more likely to develop them. Some may develop them as a reaction to certain medications, while still others may develop them as a by-product of some serious and chronic medical conditions, such as emphysema and rheumatoid arthritis. Again, those occurrences may actually be linked to the medication being taken for those conditions.
Improper diets, like those that are high in sugar, acids and things that retard normal digestion are also a factor. Developing ulcers is one of the first signs that the fad diet you may be on is causing your body to react inappropriately to whatever food your diet is comprized of or the lack of necessary nutrients that have been eliminated from it.
Diagnosing the Ulcers
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined, it is imperative that you will be examined by your doctor as soon as you can. Ulcers are nothing to fool with, and if you delay too long, it can develop into a condition known as a bleeding ulcer, or hemorrhaging ulcer. When it gets to that point, it can only be treated through surgery. To determine exactly what type of ulcer you may have, stomach or duodenal, your doctor will have to administrator some tests to pinpoint the location of the ulcers.
The most common test is an upper GI series. This consists of a barium drink, taken just before a series of X-rays are shot. The barium will be distributed throughout your upper substantive tract, and will be visible on the X-rays. Any perforations will be outlined by the barium, and your doctor will then know which treatment plan will work for you.
Treatments and Cautionary Tips
The point of treatment is to first reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, as well as strengthening the protective linings that come into contact with that acid on a regular basis. Never self-medicate with over-the-counter medications, because they may actually make it worse. The medications your doctor will give you may be similar, but they will be at a dose he knows that your body can handle, without causing more damage. Surgery is only an option of the last resort.
Even after your stomach acid has been reduced to a better level, you still need to be cautious about what you put in your body from that point on. Stomach ulcers can reoccur, if acid levels rise due to irritants introduced back into the body. Aspirin, ibuprofen and even iron supplements can irritate the walls once more and even prevent the ulcers from ever healing; so can stress, so it might be wise to take up meditation to teach you to deal with it better.