Stomach ulcers occur when the stomach is overly acidic and originate from lifestyle, diet, or the use of certain medications. Peptic ulcers often go unnoticed if they do not get irritated or ruptured but are capable of producing painful symptoms. Ulcers are caused by one of two reasons, which is the overuse of NSAID’s or the bacterium Heliobacter pylori. Essentially, people of all ages and backgrounds are susceptible to acquiring stomach ulcers but older individuals are more vulnerable. In fact, ulcers can form in any part of the stomach, which is why this condition has become an epidemic.
Did you know that nearly ten percent of the population suffers from stomach ulcers at some point in their life?
What is a Stomach Ulcer?
Stomach ulcers occur when there are holes or sores on the lining of the stomach and cause pain and disturbances. The bacterium H. pylori has the ability to affect the whole digestive system, which can lead to infections and complications. Accordingly, this condition often goes misdiagnosed because it might be confused with abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite. When the sore or hole in the stomach becomes irritated, it has the capacity to burn through the stomach lining. At this point, digestive juices break through the damaged tissue and affect surrounding organs, which can be dangerous.
The longer a peptic ulcer goes untreated, the more it burns through the stomach lining and seeps outside the stomach. For this reason, this essentially can lead to mild to severe infections and other common digestive ailments. The digestive juice hydrochloric acid and enzyme pepsin can quickly burn through the mucosal lining that protects the stomach. As this happens continually, food that is digested can irritate the area and even lead to internal bleeding. The burning sensation that occurs after eating a meal is literally the gastric juices damaging tissue in your stomach.
Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers
When excess gastric acids, bacteria, and other toxins enter the stomach via damaged area in the mucosa, symptoms occur. The symptoms of this condition cause extreme pain and can lead to infections and complications throughout the body. Researchers have discovered that while ulcers may heal in some individuals, other individuals may be genetically predisposed to this condition. The symptoms may range from general abdominal pain and disruptions to bloating and more serious pains. Signs of stomach ulcers include:
- Acid reflux
- Burning or gnawing pain in the stomach
- Change in appetite
- Dark stools (from internal bleeding)
- Severe pain in the upper or lower abdomen
Generally, medical professionals believe that a poor appetite, stress, and even the overuse of NSAID’s lead to peptic ulcer formation. Ulcers may cause symptoms between meals or at night and briefly stops with the use of antacids. The sensations felt can last anywhere from a few minutes to hours on end. The important thing to remember if you identify a stomach ulcer is that ulcers can go away on their own. Historically, up to ninety percent of cases of stomach ulcers have been resolved without surgery or medication.