What is it?
Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are open sores that develop on the lining of the stomach. Ulcers can also occur in part of the intestine just beyond the stomach – these are known as duodenal ulcers. Both stomach and duodenal ulcers are sometimes referred to as peptic ulcers. Here the term “stomach ulcer” will be used, although the information applies equally to duodenal ulcers.
What are the symptoms?
The most common signs and symptoms of stomach ulcers include: * abdominal pains and burning sensations, including bloating (especially after eating and between the belly and breastbone) * bleeding when vomiting or going to the bathroom * nausea and vomiting * darker stools * loss of appetite and changes in body weight * trouble sleeping due to pain * other digestive complaints like heartburn, acid reflux, feeling gassy * the risk for perforation of the organ lining (a life-threatening condition requiring emergency surgery to repair small openings in the lining of the GI tract) * dehydration, weakness and fatigue (if food intake is changed in response to pain when eating) * diarrhea can occur as a symptom even before other stomach ulcer symptoms start
1. Limit Use of NSAID Pain Relievers: People of any age who take NSAIDs every day or multiple times per week are more likely to develop stomach ulcers and heartburn compared to people who don’t take them very often. NSAIDs (like ibuprofen or Advil) are prescribed very often to treat all sorts of conditions that cause a fever, pain and swelling — and some people rely on taking them practically every day to help control their chronic or recurring pain (such as headaches, arthritis/joint pain, PMS cramps, muscle tears, infections, colds and so on). 2. Boost Immunity and Control Inflammation: A highly inflammatory lifestyle weakens the immune system and makes the digestive system more susceptible to an infection caused by H. pylori bacterium. H. pylori itself can then cause even more inflammation within the stomach and small intestine, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. Research shows that today about 30 percent to 40 percent of people in the U.S. get an H. pylori infection, but usually the infection remains dormant, without any noticeable symptoms emerging for years or even ever. 3. Eat Low-Processed, Nutrient-Dense Diet: An improper diet that includes lots of packaged, processed foods and few fresh foods (like vegetables and fruit) raises the risk for ulcers by promoting inflammation and hindering immune functions. Skipping regular meals and eating only one to two times per day but a large amount of food at once can also make ulcer symptoms worse. So maybe skipping breakfast isn’t the best idea. Some people also find that eating spicy foods makes their symptoms worse (although this depends on the person and does not affect everyone).
1. Manage Stress: People with anxiety and high amounts of stress have been observed to have higher than normal rates of ulcers and more frequent infections caused by H. pylori. Stress weakens the immune system and worsens digestion, making it more likely you become sick from various bacteria or microbes you come into contact with.
Things to watch out for
You should visit your GP if you think you may have a stomach ulcer. Seek urgent medical advice if you experience any of the following symptoms: vomiting blood, passing dark, sticky, tar-like stools or a sudden, sharp pain in your tummy that gets steadily worse.