A gastric ulcer, also referred to as a stomach ulcer, is a ruptured lining in the stomach. Another name for a gastric ulcer is peptic ulcer, and takes place in the upper small intestine or in the stomach. The prevailing thought at one time was that stress, a unhealthy diet, and possibly smoking were some of the causes of peptic ulcers.
Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria
However, two doctors that both won the Nobel Prize found that a bacteria named Helicobacter pylori was responsible for 60% of the known cases of stomach ulcers. Indigestion is caused by this bacterium, so using antibiotics as the treatment to rid of the bacterial infection is the best way to go. Taking drugs may be a part of the treatment in some cases to stifle the stomach acids.
So, what symptoms are most commonly associated with stomach ulcers? Abdominal pain under the ribcage, weight loss, vomiting, loss of appetite, nausea, and indigestion are all included. Also, seeing blood in your vomit is also an indicator as well as feeling lightheaded, which also happens to be an anemia symptom.
Helicobacter pylori, as previously mentioned, is the primary cause. Taking aspirin, or medications similar to it, may actually be a cause in some instances. Some people take aspirin on a regular basis to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
In addition to aspirin, these ulcers can also be caused by drugs that treat arthritis and also non-steriodal anti-inflammatory medications, or NSAIDS. Approximately 40% of all cases are thought to be caused by NSAIDS.
Stomach ulcers are diagnosed by doctors using several methods. Endoscopy can be utilized as well as Barium metal. Also, a biopsy can be performed or the doctor can use what is called a C14 breath test.
There are several different treatments that can be used for sufferers. First, the bacteria Helicobacter pylori needs to be destroyed by taking medications. Or, if your stomach ulcers are caused by medications that you are currently taking, your doctor may only make a slight adjustment to them. Making lifestyle changes could also help you in your fight against ulcers.