Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of an Ulcer Early
Ulcers are not something that should be taken lightly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 25 million Americans will experience stomach ulcers at some point in their lives.
While spicy foods aren't the direct cause of ulcers, they can exacerbate symptoms. Stress is also not a direct factor, but can lead to serious health problems if not managed. The two causes of ulcers are the H. pylori bacterium, and long-term use of over-the-counter pain medications. Both of these combined can weaken your stomach over time. The layer of mucus that protects your stomach from the acidic digestive juices start to weaken and leads to other problems. The juices then attack the tissues that coat the stomach, leading to an ulcer. There are symptoms that you should look out for. You should also talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms.
1 - Constant Stomach Pain
Constant stomach pain is the most common symptom associated with ulcers. This pain is not a sharp pain, rather a dull and burning pain in the abdomen area. This pain may occur in the middle of the night or when your stomach is hungry. Most foods can temporarily relieve this pain. The pain can last anywhere from just a few minutes to a few hours. The odds of it returning are high since it's not treated by a professional.
2 - Heartburn or Regurgitation
The next common symptom is either heartburn or regurgitation. This happens because your ulcer is covered in acid. The constant stomach pain you get can lead to heartburn or regurgitation. You may experience frequent burping, bloating, or feeling full, even though you didn't eat enough. This symptom can lead to further symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. If taking an over-the-counter product doesn't relieve these symptoms, you should speak to your health professional as soon as possible.
3 - Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting can also occur due to your inflamed ulcer. The inflammation of your stomach lining causes contractions, which lead to nausea and vomiting. These symptoms occur because your ulcer is preventing food from passing through your stomach into the small intestine, as it should. Your physician can help you determine the cause and treat it with over the counter options. But, if there's a blockage, then you may be admitted to the hospital for treatment and possibly surgery.
4 - Bloody Vomit or Fecal Matter
Since ulcers can cause nausea and vomiting, some of that matter may contain blood. It's the blood that's been building up inside of your stomach. You may also find that your fecal matter resembles coffee grounds and is black in color, which is another indicator of blood. Don't wait for another second if you notice blood in your vomit or in your fecal matter. These are both serious signs that you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
5 - Chest and Back Pain
Pain from your ulcer can lead up to your chest and back. The pain may be so intense, that it affects other parts of your body. The ulcer can also cause a perforation, in which the lining of the stomach opens up. If you experience pains that get worse, then you should seek medical attention right away. If your pains are not that serious, schedule an appointment with your health professional to find the next course of treatment.
6 - Bloating and Burping
Ulcers often cause bloating and burping in most individuals. That's because the ulcer is usually carried by a bacteria called H. pylori that builds up in the stomach area. Too much of this bacteria in your small intestine can lead to excessive burping and bloating. Once you schedule an appointment with your doctor, he or she can give you antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria. These antibiotics are often good at killing the bacteria that developed in your small intestine.
7 - Unexplained Weight Loss
Ulcers can also lead to serious weight loss. This sudden drop in weight loss is often caused by a blockage in your digestive system. The inflammation from your ulcer swells the opening of your stomach until it closes. As stated before, this prevents food from passing through your stomach into the small intestine. Your appetite decreases because of this problem. You may experience weight loss due to your decrease in appetite. Speak with your doctor if you experience unexplained weight loss.
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