A Guide To Gastric Ulcer Disease

Gastric ulcers are open sores in the inside lining of stomach, and the most common symptom of gastric ulcer disease is the abdominal pain. Some of the other symptoms of gastric ulcer disease are pain anywhere from your navel to the breastbone, pain getting worse when stomach is empty, pain lasting from few minutes to several hours, there are flares at night, and the relief comes from eating certain foods or taking acid-reducing medications. In severe cases, there may be vomiting of blood, nausea and passing dark blood in stools, tarry or black stools, appetite changes and unexplained weight loss. Ulcers must be treated with doctor’s help, but over-the-counter acid blockers and antacids can relieve the gnawing pain temporarily. This relief however is short-lived.

Causes And Cures Of Gastric Ulcer Disease

Gastric ulcer develops when stomach digestive juices and acids injure the lining of protective mucus of the stomach. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen are the most common causes of gastric ulcer disease. Presence of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori may also cause gastric ulcers. Other factors causing this disease are disorders due to imbalance in secretion of stomach juices, increased production of gastric acids and infection and decreased resistance of stomach’s lining to gastric acids.

Gastric ulcer disease diagnosis requires examination by the doctor, and he may perform the imaging studies and endoscopy to determine the presence of ulcer. Endoscopy is the best procedure to take the stomach tissue samples for biopsies and diagnose the gastric ulcers. A slender, tube-shaped instrument allows doctors to have a look at the tissue, lining the duodenum and stomach.

Several lifestyle changes can help prevent the recurrence of gastric ulcer disease. These changes include giving up smoking, avoiding unnecessary use of NSAIDs, cutting down on coffee, sodas and tea, minimizing stress, avoiding spicy food, getting plenty of rest, eating well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly. In order to avoid the recurrence of gastric ulcer disease, the doctor may also prescribe eliminating the H. pylori by using the combination of bismuth subsalicylate, tetracycline and metronidazole.

If timely treatment is not given for gastric ulcer disease, it can lead to bleeding ulcer, a perforated ulcer or obstruction or narrowing of intestinal opening that prevents food from leaving the stomach and getting into the small intestine.

In rare cases, the gastric ulcer disease needs surgery, and most common types of surgeries are antrectomy, pyloroplasty and vagotomy. If you are suffering from gastric ulcer, talk to your doctor regarding location of ulcer, its severity, best antacids, best diet, foods to be avoided, reoccurrence, and possible treatment.