A stomach ulcer a.k.a peptic ulcer is basically a minute erosion or injury in the GI tract. The size of an ulcer in the stomach may vary from 1/8th of an inch to 3/4th of an inch. It is a fairly common disease and can happen to anybody.
Causes of Stomach Ulcer
The causes of stomach ulcer are listed below.
- In general cases the peptic ulcer happens due to the degradation and destruction of the intestinal mucosal lining that is present in out stomach by the hydrochloric acid.
- Infection due to a bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori is one of the most important reasons that can cause both the duodenal and gastric ulcer.
- Another important cause of stomach ulcer is the weakening of the mucosal defence.
- It can also happen that the hydrochloric acid is secreted excessively and genetic predisposition and also stress due to psychological reasons can also result to stomach ulcer.
- A regular use of anti-inflammatory medications is also responsible for stomach ulcer.
- Cigarette smoking is a potent reason behind stomach ulcers.
Symptoms of Stomach Ulcer
The symptoms of stomach ulcer include
- A burning sensation in the region of the stomach that may last from half and hour to four hours.
- Pain which most of the times accompanied by Loss of appetite, heartburn, hunger or indigestion.
- Weight loss due to low appetite.
How are Stomach Ulcers Diagnosed?
- In most cases the history is quite clear in making a diagnosing of peptic ulcer.To confirm the presence and severity of ulcers one may need to undergo an endoscopy where a scope with a camera is passed into the stomach through the mouth.
- This procedure is simple and takes only a few minutes.The advantages of getting an endoscopy are to preciselty identify the severity of the ulcer,to rule out other dangerous problems like cancer and also to diagnose the presence of H.pyloiri infection.
Treatment of Stomach Ulcer
Once a peptic ulcer is diagnosed majority of the patients respond very well to medications. In patients who have been diagnosed to have H.Pylori infection, a course of antibiotics is useful to prevent recurrence of ulcers.
In a small group of patients who have complicated ulcers there may be a need for surgery to decrease the acid secretion.
Complications of Stomach Ulcer
The complications of stomach ulcer include internal bleeding and also obstruction of emptying of the stomach. These patients need emergency endoscopy to control the bleeding by giving an injection into the ulcer or by clipping the bleeding blood vessel. In cases where endoscopy fails to control bleeding emergency surgery may be required to stop the bleeding and to decrease acid secretion.