Ulcer: Symptoms and Causes

Open sores on the inside lining of your stomach and the upper region of your small intestine are known as peptic ulcers. Stomach discomfort is the most prevalent sign of a peptic ulcer. The following are examples of peptic ulcers:

  • Gastric ulcers : Gastric ulcers, also known as stomach ulcers, are open sores that form on the stomach's lining. Another area of the intestine that is just past the stomach is susceptible to ulcers.
  • Duodenal ulcers : These are ulcers that form on the interior of your small intestine's upper part (duodenum) The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can sometimes be the causes of peptic ulcers.

Symptoms of Ulcer

  • Burning stomach pain
  • Feeling of fullness, bloating or belching
  • Intolerance to fatty foods
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea

The most typical sign of a peptic ulcer is burning stomach discomfort. Stomach acid, as well as having an empty stomach, aggravates the pain. Eat some meals that buffer stomach acid or take an acid-reducing medication to alleviate the pain, but it may return. It's possible that the discomfort will be worse between meals and at night.

ulcer symptoms

Many persons with peptic ulcers have no symptoms at all. Ulcers can also generate severe indications and symptoms, such as:

    • Vomiting or vomiting blood (which can be red or black in color)
    • Feces with dark blood, or stools that are black or tarry
    • Breathing problems
    • Feeling dizzy
    • Vomiting or nausea
    • Weight loss that isn't explained
    • Appetite shifts

Causes of Ulcer

When the inside of the stomach or small intestine is worn down by acid from the digestive system, peptic ulcers develop. An excruciating open sore that could bleed can be caused by acid. ,There is a mucous membrane covering your digestive tract, which typically absorbs acid. On the other hand, you run the risk of developing an ulcer if the quantity of mucus or acid is dropped.

Among the most common causes are:

  • Bacteria : Helicobacter pylori bacteria are typically found in the mucous layer that covers and protects the stomach and small intestine tissues. The H. pylori bacterium usually causes no problems, but it can create ulcers by inflaming the stomach's inner layer. The exact mechanism by which H. pylori infection spreads is unknown. It can be passed from one person to the next through close contacts. H. pylori can also be contracted by food and drink.
  • Use of some pain medicines on a regular basis : Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin and other over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers, can irritate or inflame the lining of the stomach and small intestine. Ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, ketoprofen, and other medicines are among them. They are devoid of acetaminophen.
  • Other drugs are available : Other drugs, such as steroids, anticoagulants, low-dose aspirin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, alendronate, and risedronate, when taken with NSAIDs, might dramatically increase the risk of ulcers.

Risk Factors

In addition to the hazards associated with using NSAIDs, you may be at a higher risk of developing peptic ulcers if you:

  • Smoke: In patients infected with H. pylori, smoking may increase the risk of peptic ulcers.
  • Consume alcoholic beverages: Alcohol can irritate and dissolve your stomach's mucous lining, as well as increase the amount of stomach acid produced.
  • Take Stress: Have stress that is not being addressed.
  • Eating Spicy food: If you consume too spicy meals.

These variables do not create ulcers on their own, but they can aggravate them and make them more difficult to heal.

Diagnosis of Ulcer

Following are the tests suggested for diagnosing an ulcer:

  • Endoscopy: If the symptoms are severe, the doctor may suggest an upper endoscopy to see if you have an ulcer. The doctor uses an endoscope (a short, illuminated tube with a tiny camera) to examine for abnormalities in your throat and stomach during this treatment.
  • H. pylori tests: These are now commonly available, and your doctor will design a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms while also killing the bacteria. The quickest way to find out if you have H. pylori is to do a breath test. A blood or stool test, or a sample taken during an upper endoscopy, can also be used to check for it.
  • Imaging tests: Imaging techniques such as X-rays and CT scans are utilized to detect ulcers. You must consume a special liquid that covers the digestive tract and allows the imaging devices to see ulcers more clearly.


Following are the tests suggested for diagnosing an ulcer:

  • Medication : H2-receptor antagonists, often known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): Let the ulcer heal by producing less stomach acid.
  • Antibiotics : Antibiotics are recommended to get rid of H. pylori if it is the cause of the ulcer. Drugs that support the preservation of the stomach and small intestinal lining are known as cytoprotective drugs.
  • Alternative remedies : Mastic gum, deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), probiotics, and other alternative medicines can provide some relief from ulcers.
  • Surgery : In rare instances, when ulcers are unresponsive to medicine or when complications like bleeding or perforation occur, surgery may be required.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is a duodenal ulcer treated?

The standard course of treatment for ulcers brought on by H pylori is "triple therapy." This involves taking medication and two antibiotics. While the medication lessens the amount of acid your stomach produces, the antibiotics kill the germs.

2. Can milk help with an ulcer?

No. Milk covers the lining of the stomach, which may temporarily relieve ulcer discomfort. However, milk also increases the production of digestive juices and acid in the stomach, which exacerbates ulcers.

3. Does gas come from ulcers?

Gas and hiccups after meals might be brought on by ulcers. Another sign of an ulcer is burning in the throat. In the absence of medical attention, ulcers may worsen and result in more severe issues including internal bleeding and rips in your intestines or stomach.

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