Are Stomach Ulcers Serious?
Does your stomach hurt frequently? Does the pain ever wake you up at night? Do you vomit undigested food or blood? If you can answer “yes” to these questions or have experienced other symptoms associated with stomach discomfort, you may have stomach ulcers. These can be caused by many things, such as taking anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofin or aspirin, among others. Ulcers occasionally develop from eating highly spicy food or excessive caffeine or alcohol intake.
The ulcerous condition, which is one or more slow-healing sores, are often caused by H-pylon bacteria. Your doctor can determine if this is the source of your problem by conducting diagnostic tests that may include blood work and endoscopy, which is a tubal exploration of your stomach lining and esophagus. Sometimes stress can play a role in the development or aggravation of ulcers. Check with your doctor about the most likely factors in your lifestyle that may be having this damaging effect, and find out what you can do to improve your daily routine and alleviate discomfort from stomach ulcers.
Taking Pepto Bismol or another antacid product before or after eating may reduce stomach acid and help prevent the formation of ulcers. Eating several small meals each day instead of a few large ones also may play a part in controlling the acid buildup that can lead to problems. Balance meals based on spicy foods with those that are easier on the stomach lining. Check with a nutrition specialist or your doctor’s office for recommendations about the foods to avoid and those you can eat to help control this condition.
The doctor may prescribe a triple-treatment of antibiotics to destroy the bacteria responsible for your ulcers. The course of treatment usually runs two to three weeks, and some patients need to take medication for up to eight weeks. That should be the extent of the medicine unless further problems develop.
You also can take steps to reduce stress from your life. Avoid conflict with other people. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Keep a diary or personal journal for writing about negative thoughts before they cause harm. Getting regular exercise for 30 to 60 minutes on most days is another great way to reduce the effects of stress and help to stay healthy. Your doctor can suggest an exercise plan that will fit with your lifestyle and overall health.
Getting an ulcer is painful, it’s inconvenient, and it may be time-consuming to get it under control. Watch for warning signs like rectal bleeding, which may look like black or tarry stools. Chronic indigestion, difficulty in swallowing, and incessant burping may be indicators, as well. Report any of these to your medical practitioner, and he or she will advise whether testing is needed to rule out other possible causes.