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Is stomach ulcer curable?
22 Mar 2022
Is stomach ulcer curable? image

We all experience stomach aches once in a while and few have a chronic stomach ache as a health condition. Is that common? Or is it something much more severe?

Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers are painful wounds on the lining of the stomach. Ulcers are painful and depressing. But there are treatments available for it.

Stomach ulcers are a type of peptic ulcer which are open sores in the inside lining of your stomach and also on the upper portion of your small intestine. Any ulcer that affects both the stomach and the small intestine is a peptic ulcer.

What causes stomach ulcers?

When the thick coating of mucus that protects your stomach from digestive fluids becomes weak, stomach ulcers develop. This permits the strong digestive acids in the body to eat away the stomach’s lining tissues resulting in an ulcer.

  1.  Bacteria

Helicobacter pylori bacteria are the bacteria that live in the mucous layer that protects the stomach and small intestine, they are usually harmless but can cause inflammation in the stomach that causes ulcers.

  1.  Use of painkillers

Regular use of painkillers like aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) can trigger and cause the growth of ulcers in the stomach

  1. Other medications

Certain other medications along with NSAIDs like steroids, anticoagulants, alendronate, and risedronate can also cause inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the stomach and small intestine.

Symptoms of stomach ulcers

First of all, a person should be aware of the symptoms of ulcers to diagnose and cure them. There are several symptoms related to stomach ulcers, few are:

  • Burning sensation in the stomach
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in appetite 
  • nausea and vomiting
  • Burping 
  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Anemia

According to the severity of the condition, symptoms can vary.  Known symptoms for severe stomach ulcers are:

  • Breathing trouble
  • Blood in stools
  • Feeling faint
  • Vomiting blood

Diagnosing stomach ulcer

Stomach ulcers are curable if diagnosed and treated properly. There are blood, stools, breath tests to diagnose stomach ulcers. If you consult a doctor on this medical condition he may first go through your medical history and inspect your symptoms. According to it, your doctor advises you to have different tests. Other common tests used to diagnose stomach ulcers are:

  • Barium swallow: You will be made to swallow barium, Barium is a thick white substance that coats your upper gastrointestinal tract and allows your doctor to see your stomach and small intestine on X-rays.
  • Endoscopy(EGD): In this procedure a lighted tube is introduced into your stomach and to the first section of your small intestine through your mouth. This test is performed to check for ulcers, bleeding, and any abnormal tissue in the tract.
  • Endoscopic biopsy: A very small piece of tissue from the specific area is removed and then analyzed in the laboratory.

How do you cure a stomach ulcer?

Do not treat a stomach ulcer or a potential stomach ulcer condition on your own. It can even worsen the already existing situation. Consult a doctor and get your medicines if (necessary) prescribed.

The treatment procedures can include

  •  Antibiotics: Objective is to kill H. pylori bacteria which produce inflammation in the stomach lining. 
  • Medications using proton pump inhibitors: Reduce stomach acid by blocking some functionings of the cell parts that produce acid.
  • Acid blockers: acid blockers or histamine blockers regulates the excessive acid flow into the digestive tract which reduces the inflammations and promotes healing.
  • Antacids: antacids neutralize existing acidity in the stomach. It can ease your pain but usually doesn’t have any healing effect.

How long does it take for a stomach ulcer to heal?

Stomach ulcers are very painful and irritating with proper treatment and medications.

Generally, ulcers should heal quickly once you stop taking the medication. For two to six weeks, antacid therapy may be given to aid healing and relieve pain.

Ulcers due to H. pylori start to heal right after the killing of the bacteria.  Antibiotics and acid-suppressing drugs are usually prescribed for two weeks. Then, for another four to eight weeks, you can take acid-suppressing medicine.

Gastric ulcers heal slower compared to duodenal ulcers. Gastric ulcers that aren’t difficult can take up to two or three months to heal entirely. It takes around six weeks for serious ulcers to heal.

Without antibiotics, an ulcer can heal briefly. However, if the germs are not eliminated, an ulcer is likely to reoccur.

When to see a doctor

Never take initiative to treat an ulcer on your own, as it can worsen your condition. If you come to notice blood in vomit or stools, have a severe stomach ache or other symptoms consult a doctor for expert opinion and treatments. Follow the doctor’s directions and take necessary medications.

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