Stomach or Gastric Ulcer
Gastric ulcer is a more or less eroded erosion of the internal stomach lining, called gastric mucosa. This ulceration is similar to the lesion left by a cigarette bite in contact with the skin, with the difference that the ulcer is not caused by the heat but by the corrosive action of acidic gastric juices.
Causes and Risk Factor
Causes and Risk factors include:
- an excess of acidity;
- a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori ;
- certain drugs, including aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as well as cortisone derivatives.
Also, some people are more likely to have stomach ulcers, for example, those who:
- Consume too much alcohol;
- Face a high level of stress;
- Have a hereditary predisposition.
What are the symptoms of Stomach Ulcer?
Typical symptoms include:
- Discomfort, pain or burning sensation in the middle of the abdomen, especially at mealtimes
- Abdominal cramps;
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of weight or appetite.
How is the Diagnosis Made?
A diagnosis of a stomach ulcer cannot be made merely based on an assessment of the symptoms present. Some tests should be undertaken at the request of the attending physician to confirm the diagnosis.
The doctor can pass x-rays to examine the inside of the stomach. He may also use gastroscopy, a method of medical imaging that involves introducing into the stomach a thin tube with a camera to observe the extent of the ulcer.
Also, a biopsy may be required, that is to say, a small portion of the stomach wall, the examination of which may detect abnormal cells, cancer or Helicobacter pylori bacteria. The doctor may also pass a simple breath test or a blood test or stool to determine the presence of this bacteria.
What are the Treatment Modalities?
To treat a stomach ulcer, one must first identify the factors involved. If Helicobacter pylori are detected, you will be asked to take a combination of drugs to eliminate it. The treatment will last a few weeks, and you will need to take each of the medications prescribed diligently during the fixed period to permanently get rid of the bacteria.
Over-the-counter medications can temporarily relieve your symptoms, but they will not cure your stomach ulcer.