Stomach ulcers usually develop in the stomach lining, but they can also appear on the intestine close to the stomach; doctors call this latter type of ulcer a duodenal ulcer. Stomach ulcers are not always painful, which can delay treatment. Some people feel sick, or experience indigestion or heartburn. Bacterial infections and long-term use of non-steroid drugs are the main causes of stomach ulcers. The location of the ulcer and other factors determine the type of treatment doctors will choose.
If the doctor sees that the stomach ulcer developed because of a reaction to the long-term use of painkiller medications, he or she needs to review the patient's need for this drug. It is sometimes possible to find a remedy that brings the same benefits without damaging the stomach. The doctor often recommends taking a proton pump inhibitor, and sometimes they prefer to prescribe one of the H2-receptor antagonist drugs. Also, antacids could help to heal the ulcer. A gastroscopy enables the doctor to check the success of the cure.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) have many beneficial medical applications, but to prevent the development of stomach ulcers try to avoid taking such drugs regularly. Prevention is always preferable to treatment so after time using an NSAID, ask the doctor if paracetamol could be just as effective. The doctor might prescribe a COX-2 inhibitor medication since they are less likely to cause stomach ulcers. If a patient needs to take aspirin to reduce the risk of blood clotting, the addition of a PPI drug to their medication should lower their stomach ulcer risks.
The proton pump inhibitor (PPI) and the H2-receptor antagonist drugs reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces. Use of these drugs helps by stopping stomach acids from interfering with the natural ulcer healing process. The course of PPIs could last a month or two. Both these kind of medications sometimes come with unpleasant side effects. Patients might feel dizzy or get headaches, but these symptoms go away as soon as the treatment ends.
A Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infection is one of the most common stomach ulcer causes. If the doctor diagnoses bacteria as the stomach ulcer cause, the standard treatment requires a course of antibiotics and PPIs. Doctors usually prescribe two or three antibiotics for the patient to take a couple of times each day over a week. A month afterward, a test shows if the course of antibiotics worked. If the test shows that some bacteria remain, a course of a different antibiotic is the standard way to deal with this problem.
Depending on the pain the stomach ulcer causes, the doctor may decide to prescribe an antacid drug for immediate relief. The main advantage of these medications is their ability to bring short-term relief from stomach ulcer systems faster than antibiotics and PPIs. Patients need to take them after eating a meal and before going to sleep at night when the ulcer symptoms often flare up. Some patients experience side effects from antacid medicines, for example, constipation or diarrhea. Let the doctor knows if this occurs.
A suspicion of a stomach ulcer is sufficient reason to consult a doctor, but emergency medical care is essential if aggravated symptoms develop. If somebody starts to vomit red or dark brown colored blood, or the stomach ulcer sufferer notices that their stools have a dark color like tar, they should go right away to the hospital. The same applies if stomach pains become increasingly severe. Any of these could be symptoms of serious health complications, for example, internal bleeding.
A stomach ulcer may require surgery, but these cares are rare. This could be the case if the ulcer fails to heal properly, if it is bleeding, or if there is a tear in the stomach. The surgeon could take out the entire ulcer, or maybe they will patch over the ulcer with tissue removed from another area of the intestine. The exact procedure required depends on the nature of the damage the ulcer is causing.
At one time people thought there was a clear link between bad diet and stomach ulcers. Modern research finds no proof for this particular theory, but the idea that a diet helps prevent ulcers has received some support. If you include sufficient green leaf vegetables in meal plans, for example, spinach and cabbage, it increases the body's resistance to the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. Yogurt and olive oil are a couple more examples of foods supposed to reduce ulcer risks.
There is some basis for claims that honey could help to prevent the development of stomach ulcers and shorten the healing process. So far, the only evidence available comes from studies with animals, but believers in the power of natural healing are optimistic. We know that honey helps heal many kinds of wounds and it has proven anti-bacterial properties. For these reasons, it seems reasonable to suppose it will also help prevent and treat stomach ulcers.
The powerful bacteria-fighting properties of garlic have attracted a great deal of attention from health food enthusiasts and others in recent years. Some preliminary studies indicate that garlic extracts prevent the development of the bacteria that constitute one of the main causes of stomach ulcers. Some recommend eating a couple of cloves of raw garlic each day over several days to reduce stomach bacteria. However, in the light of conclusive evidence for the effectiveness of any of these natural cures, a visit to a regular doctor remains essential.
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