off, side effects are a medical term used to describe adverse effects
(unexpected /unwanted effects) caused by medications. So it’s not appropriate
to say side effects of stomach ulcers. Because ulcers are a medical condition
(they’re not medical treatment)!
Instead, it’s best to say symptoms of stomach ulcers — not ‘side effects’!
name implies, stomach ulcer is a kind of peptic ulcer disease (open sore) that
form in the lining of the gastric (stomach). And ‘yes’ the disease has several
signs and symptoms.
location of stomach in the body is on the left side of your upper abdomen. This
muscular organ accepts food from the upper organs (mouth and esophagus).
gets into the end of your esophagus, it weighs down into the stomach through
the lower esophageal sphincter (a special flexible muscular valve). Then your
stomach digests food to process what you eat!
support this digestive process, your stomach releases enzymes and acid. The
stomach has ‘rugae’ (ridges of muscle tissue) so it can contract periodically
to respond digestion.
the stomach is responsible to churn and digest food, plus highly exposure to
acidic digestive juice – it’s possible for the stomach lining to get hurt from
this process. Thankfully, the lining is supported and protected by strong mucus
mucus is produced and secreted by special tall (columnar) epithelial cells . It plays a key role to give
protection and support the lubrication of food’s movement within the stomach.
this mucus layer breaks down or becomes too thin, the stomach lining is more
vulnerable to get negative effects from digestive acid and other bad things in
the stomach. As a result, the lining may get damaged and you’re at high risk to
develop an ulcer in there.
causes to blame are :
infection with Helicobacter pylori. Many cases of stomach ulcer have to do with
H. pylori infection. Therefore experts say that it is the top leading cause of
(non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – aspirin and ibuprofen for examples.
The risk increases if you take these pain relievers at high doses or for a long
Other factors such as poor diet (e.g. alcohol, diet high in spicy and acidic foods), stress, cigarette smoking, and age would also play a role. But they are not the primary causes of the disease.
sore of stomach ulcer is painful, causing burning pain sensation in the center
and upper area of your abdomen (specifically between the breastbone and belly
button). The pain usually gets worse when your stomach acid is at high level,
between meals or at night for examples.
Sometimes the pain may radiate elsewhere in the body. For example, it may also affect the back in a few cases.
usually will relieve for a while with food that can buffer the acid or when
you’re taking antacid (medication that neutralizes the acid).
sore may also cause other symptoms like indigestion, heartburn, abdominal
bloating, etc – depending on how severe it is.
general, symptoms are likely more noticeable when stomach ulcer has caused
complications. The complications may vary.
Internal bleeding! It’s possible to have bleeding at the site of the open sore. If the bleeding occurs slowly, you may have some of the following signs and symptoms:
- More noticeable heart-beats (heart palpitations).
- Shortness of breath (breathlessness).
- Chronic internal bleeding may also lead to anemia – causing malaise, fatigue, chest pain, lightheadedness, headache, yellowish pale skin, cold hands and feet .
if it causes severe acute bleeding, you may experience one or some of the
- Blood from bleeding can travel
from the affected area to the bowel. As a result, you may pass sticky, black
stools (tar-like) during bowel movement.
- Vomiting blood. It may occur with
the consistency of coffee grounds.
Ulcer swelling may become severe enough to cause obstruction in the
digestive tract, blocking passage of food through your stomach and digestive
Perforation, a condition in which the
affected stomach lining splitting open!
The good news, the prognosis and outcome of stomach ulcer are quite awesome. The disease is often treatable and curable with comprehensive treatment plan.
But it’s also worth a try to keep alert for ulcer signs and symptoms after treatment. Because there’s a chance for the disease to come back (recurrence) in the next month or years afterwards!
with a personal history of stomach ulcer should always follow healthy lifestyle
modifications to keep the risk of recurrence at bay. For examples:
smoking! The risk for recurrence may increase with tobacco smoke.
alcohol if possible – or drink only at safe level (no more than 1 drink for
women, and 2 drinks for men)!
stay on healthy practices; go with healthy-balanced diet, eat regularly, and
maintain personal hygiene as well.
maintain your stress! With other risk factors of stomach ulcer (especially H.
pylori infection), high-uncontrolled stress would make the disease more likely