Woman Ulcer Symptoms

Overview

Peptic ulcers are open sores that form on the inner lining of your stomach and the upper part of your small intestine. Most people with a peptic ulcer feel pain in their stomach.

Peptic ulcers include:

  • Ulcers on the inside of the stomach are called gastric ulcers.
  • Duodenal ulcers are sores that form on the inside of the top part of the small intestine (duodenum).

Most peptic ulcers are caused by infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and long-term use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and other brands) and naproxen sodium (Aleve). Peptic ulcers are not caused by stress or spicy foods. They can make your symptoms worse, though.

Symptoms

  • Stomach pains that burn
  • feeling full, getting gassy, or belching
  • can’t handle fatty foods
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea

The most common sign of a peptic ulcer is a burning pain in the stomach. Both stomach acid and an empty stomach make the pain worse. Most of the time, you can get rid of the pain by eating foods that neutralize stomach acid or by taking a medicine that lowers stomach acid, but the pain may come back. The pain may be worse in the middle of the day or at night.

People with peptic ulcers often don’t even know they have them.

Ulcers rarely cause serious signs or symptoms like:

  • Vomiting or throwing up blood, which can be red or black,
  • Dark blood in stools or black or tarry stools
  • Can’t you get enough air?
  • Getting dizzy
  • feeling sick or puking
  • Loss of weight for no reason
  • Changes in hunger

When to See a Doctor

See your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms or signs that are very bad. Also, see your doctor if over-the-counter pain relievers like antacids and acid blockers help but the pain comes back.

Causes

When acid in the digestive tract eats away at the inside of the stomach or small intestine, this is called a peptic ulcer. The acid can cause a sore that hurts and may bleed.

Your digestive tract is usually protected from acid by a layer of mucus. But you could get an ulcer if the amount of acid goes up or the amount of mucus goes down.

Common causes include:

  • A bacterium. Helicobacter pylori bacteria usually live in the mucus layer that covers and protects the tissues that line the stomach and small intestine. Most of the time, the H. pylori bacterium doesn’t cause any problems. However, it can cause inflammation of the inner layer of the stomach, which can lead to an ulcer.

It isn’t much known about how H. pylori infections spread. It can be passed from one person to another through close contacts, like kissing. H. pylori can also be spread through food and water.

  • Taking certain painkillers often Aspirin and other painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can make the lining of your stomach and small intestine red and swollen if you take them too often. Among these are ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and other brands), naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox DS, and other brands), ketoprofen, and other drugs. They don’t have acetaminophen in them (Tylenol, others).
  • Different medicines. NSAIDs and certain other drugs, like steroids, anticoagulants, low-dose aspirin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), alendronate (Fosamax), and risedronate (Actonel), can make ulcers much more likely.

Danger signs

In addition to the risks that come with taking NSAIDs, you may be more likely to get peptic ulcers if you:

  • Smoke. People who have H. pylori and smoke may be more likely to get peptic ulcers.
  • Drink booze. Alcohol can irritate and wear away at your stomach’s mucous lining, and it can also make your stomach produce more acid.
  • Stress that is not treated
  • Eat foods that are hot.

These things don’t cause ulcers on their own, but they can make ulcers worse and make it harder for them to heal.

Complications

If peptic ulcers are not treated, they can lead to:

  • Bleeding inside. Bleeding can happen slowly, which can lead to anemia, or quickly, which may require a trip to the hospital or a blood transfusion. If you lose a lot of blood, you might throw up black or bloody stuff or have black or bloody stools.
  • A perforation is a hole in the wall of your stomach. Peptic ulcers can eat a hole in the wall of your stomach or small intestine. This makes you more likely to get a serious infection in your abdomen (peritonitis).
  • Obstruction. Peptic ulcers can make it hard for food to move through the digestive tract. This can make you feel full quickly, make you throw up, and cause you to lose weight because of swelling from inflammation or scarring.
  • stomach cancer. Studies have found that people who have H. pylori are more likely to get stomach cancer.

Prevention

If you do the same things that are suggested as home remedies for ulcers, you may lower your risk of getting peptic ulcers. It might also help to:

  • Keep yourself from getting sick. It is not clear how H. pylori spread, but there is some evidence that it could be passed from person to person or through food and water.
  • You can avoid getting infections like H. pylori by washing your hands often with soap and water and only eating foods that have been fully cooked.
  • Be careful with painkillers. If you often take painkillers that make you more likely to get peptic ulcers, you should take steps to lower your risk of stomach problems. For example, you should take your medicine with food.
  • Work with your doctor to find the smallest dose that will still help with your pain. Drinking alcohol while taking your medication can increase the likelihood of stomach upset.
  • If you need an NSAID, you may also need to take other medicines, such as an antacid, a proton pump inhibitor, an acid blocker, or a cytoprotective agent. COX-2 inhibitors are a type of NSAID that might be less likely to cause peptic ulcers, but they might make the chance of having a heart attack higher.

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