Abdominal pain is one of the most common stomach ulcer symptoms both in women and men. As the name implies, stomach ulcer or medically called as gastric ulcer is a sore of the lining inside the stomach. It is part of a major digestive problem called peptic ulcers (the open sores that can occur along inside the lining of esophagus to the upper part of small intestine).
The prognosis of stomach ulcer is closely dependent on your commitment to follow the treatment plan as prescribed. It is more likely to reoccur if untreated completely. But if you follow completely the treatment and take all medications that directed by your doctor, you will be much less likely to develop another ulcer.
Causes of stomach ulcer?
The lining of small intestines and stomach has a natural protector to protect it against the irritating acids. But due to certain reason, this protective lining sometime is no longer to work as well as it should be. As a result, there is a chance for the lining to get inflammation. The acids can irritate the lining of your stomach and intestines, which then may cause a painful open sore ‘ulcer’.
In many cases, this inflammation occurs in the first layer of the deepest /inner lining. If left untreated, there is also a chance of developing a perforation in long term (perforation is a hole of stomach and duodenum – it is a medical emergency that should be treated promptly).
Many experts believe that the infection of bacteria called H-pylori (Helicobacter pylori) has a significant contribution to cause the lining damage of stomach and intestine. In fact, H-pylori bacteria are pretty common to be found in many patients with peptic ulcers. It usually lives in the GI (gastrointestinal) track. Nevertheless, there are also some people who have them in their GI track but they don’t develop any type of peptic ulcer.
The following are more FAQs about the H-pylori infection:
How do you get infected with this kind of bacteria?
Unfortunately, there is still no answer for this question. In many cases, the infection is diagnosed at later stage or later in life. In other words, the infection may have been present at childhood of patient.
How to make a diagnosis of H-pylori infection?
A blood test is usually one of common procedures to make a diagnosis of the H-pylori bacterial infection. Your doctor may also perform some tests to analyze some samples of the stools. Sometime a test called biopsy ‘removing or taking a sample of tissue’ may also be needed!
How to get rid of this kind of infection?
To eliminate it, there are some choices of medications and antibiotics, according to Mayo Clinic. Read also natural ways to treat digestive problems!
Can it increase your risk of developing cancer?
If left untreated, there are some studies found that this infection may increase the risk of cancer ‘especially stomach cancer’. However more studies are needed! The following is a picture (credit to Mayo Clinic) to describe 3 major locations of ulcers.
How do you get it?
Some studies also found that the use of excessive pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, ketoprofen, and aspirin or other NSAIDs ‘nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs’ may increase the risk of triggering inflammation of the stomach’s & intestine’s lining. Some statistics show that peptic ulcers are also pretty common in older adults who frequently take these pain medications.
If you are taking some of these drugs, it’s much better to take them with meals to reduce the side effects or ask your doctor for more advice! Or if you are diagnosed with stomach ulcer, make sure your pain reliever doesn’t affect the problem. Your doctor may prescribe a safe pain reliever such as acetaminophen that typically doesn’t trigger peptic ulcers.
In addition, the use of prescription drugs such as Fosamax, Actonel, or other bisphosphonates for the treatment of osteoporosis may also lead to peptic ulcers, according to Mayo Clinic. Other risk factors (factors /conditions that increase your chance /risk of developing stomach ulcer) include:
- Chewing tobacco /smoking cigarettes, particularly if at the same time you have an infection due to H-pylori bacteria.
- Bad habit of excessively drinking alcohol.
- Taking certain radiation treatment.
- Uncontrolled stress. This factor alone may not significant increase your risk, but with other factors mentioned about, it can put you at high risk of developing peptic ulcers.
- Being very ill due to other diseases may also aggravate the problem!
Does having a family history of this digestive problem can increase your risk of developing the same condition? This issue may be still debatable – while some experts believe that it can run in the families, but others don’t.
Other stomach ulcer symptoms in women and men
Generally there is no significant distinction between the symptoms of this digestive problem in women and in men. Furthermore, in fact more people who have an infection of H-pylori also don’t notice any symptoms related with digestive problem. Ulcers related with the infection of H-pylori bacteria are often reported come with burning pain sensation, especially during the night or about 1 hour after meals.
The following are other symptoms that may occur (according to the National Institutes of Health):
- Fullness faster than usual when eating.
- Nausea with sometime may also be followed by vomiting. This vomiting is a part of discomfort sensation, but some patients find it can help relieve their nausea.
- While some patients notice that they are easier to get feeling of fullness, they also are easier to get feeling of hunger that may occur about 1 to 3 hours after meals.
- Upper abdominal pains that can make wake you up from the sleep at night!
Some of these symptoms (particularly for abdominal pain) may also point to a condition called spastic colon. Other less common symptoms but they usually point to the greater severity of the stomach ulcer are weight loss without unknown reason, extremely weakness, chest pain, and even bloody vomiting & blood found in the stools.