Published January 11, 2021
Years ago, many thought an ulcer was caused by stress and anxiety. We now understand that’s not all true, and there are other reasons a person suffers from a stomach ulcer. Keep reading to learn the real explanation and some signs you may be suffering from a stomach ulcer.
Peptic Ulcers Can be Gastric Or Duodenal
An ulcer develops either in the stomach, known as a gastric ulcer, or in the upper part of the small intestine, called duodenal ulcers.
An ulcer is a painful sore which develops in the lining of the stomach or small intestine. Normally a mucus protects your stomach lining but acid can eat away at it. An ulcer forms when the mucus is decreased and acid increases, but why does that happen?
Why We Get Ulcers
There are two causes of ulcers.
50% of people worldwide have a bacteria known as H pylori which sticks to the mucus layer in our digestive tract. This results in an inflammation which deteriorates the mucus. Once the mucus is reduced, the digestive acids destroy the stomach tissue. Although half the world’s population have this bacteria, only 10-15% develop an ulcer.
The second cause of ulcers is the use of many over the counter (OTC) pain relievers known as NSAIDS or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. You may rely on them for minor pains. They include the following:
- Aspirin including even the coated type
- Naproxen or Aleve
- Ibuprofen or Motrin, Advil, and Midol
- Prescription NSAIDS
A safer pain medication is acetaminophen or Tylenol.
You are especially at risk if you are female, over the age of 70, or take corticosteroids while also taking NSAIDS and have used these OTC meds continuously, and for a long time. You are also susceptible if you have a history of ulcers.
Other risk factors include a family history of ulcers, drinking alcohol to excess, smoking, and suffering from liver, kidney, or lung disease.
Symptoms Which Indicate You May Have An Ulcer
Common signs of an ulcer are a gnawing or burning in the middle or upper stomach. This usually occurs between meals. You may feel bloated, have heartburn, find that your pain goes away after eating or if you take an antacid, along with pain at night.
In addition, you may burp or have acid reflux, lose weight, and suffer from anemia with the effects of fatigue and shortness of breath.
Some of these signs may seem like they could be from other issues, but don’t ignore them. Even mild symptoms can become worse if they are not treated.
Categories: GI Health