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Gastric ulcer

A peptic ulcer in the stomach is a called a gastric ulcer. The lining of the stomach and the intestines are strong enough to protect itself. When this lining breaks down the tissue becomes swollen and inflamed.

Gastric ulcer or stomach ulcer is usually caused by a bacterial infection called H. pylori. Stomach produces acid to fight the bacteria in the stomach. And to protect the stomach from these corrosive acids, the duodenum creates a natural mucus lining barrier to protect itself. There is a balance maintained between the amount of acid and the mucus produced. When this balance is altered, the acid automatically damages the lining of the stomach and leads to the formation of ulcers.
The causes of gastric ulcers can be narrowed down to:

  • H. pylori bacterium infection
  • Excessive usage of NSAIDs – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen
  • Excessive Smoking
  • Hypercalcemia – excessive production of calcium
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome – a disease that makes the body produce excessive acid
  • unrestrained consumption of alcohol

When the ulcer is severe, so are the symptoms. Some of the predominant symptoms of gastric ulcers include:

  • weight loss
  • burning and dull pain in the stomach – between the chest and belly button area
  • vomiting blood
  • burping and bloating
  • consumption of food and liquids does not relieve the pain
  • heartburn
  • stomach pain within one or two hours of eating
  • Special diet recommendations

Endoscopic biopsy: A part of the stomach tissue is extracted for analysis. This test is usually conducted when the patient has witnessed significant weight loss or bleeding.
Barium x-ray: Barium is a thick white liquid that is ingested by the patient. The stomach and intestine is prominent and examined under the x-ray. Scar tissues, ulcers and blockages are evident in this test.
Endoscopy: A thin tube with light at the end of it is inserted through the mouth and into the stomach to examine and locate the presence of an ulcer. The patient might be administered a sedative or mild painkiller to reduce any kind of discomfort during or after the procedure.

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