A bleeding stomach ulcer, which is also known as a peptic ulcer, is an ulcer that is formed in the gastrointestinal tract. The peptic ulcer or peptic ulcer disease (PUD) causes abrasions in the mucosal lining of the stomach. Though this condition is called stomach ulcer, lesions may often occur in the duodenum, which is the starting point of the small intestine, rather than in the stomach. These can also develop in the entire gastrointestinal tract. One of the main causes of ulcers is an injury to the gastric mucosal lining, which can lead to the destruction of the intestinal lining due to hydrochloric acid, which is a major component of the digestive juices in the stomach. Too much caffeine, alcohol and smoking may trigger the unnecessary growth of lesions in the digestive tract. Older age people, individuals suffering from chronic stress, diabetes, repetitive stress injuries, fibromyalgia are at a higher risk of suffering from this problem. According to a research, this condition is also passed down through generations. This condition can be quite painful and prove to be life-threatening in the absence of proper treatment.
Bleeding Ulcer Symptoms
The symptoms of a bleeding ulcer in the stomach may be similar to stomach flu or an upset stomach. An individual suffering from a perforated stomach ulcer will show the following symptoms:
- Burning Sensation: A common indication of an ulcer is burning sensation in the stomach. This sensation can cause extreme discomfort to the person and can last up to four hours. In some cases, this discomfort tends to be misinterpreted for heartburn. The pain may also become severe with the passage of time and may have to be brought to the attention of the doctor.
- Abdominal Pain: When the ulcer becomes severe, the inner lining of the stomach tends to become perforated, leading to the accumulation of undigested food material and stomach acids in the abdominal cavity. This condition can cause severe and unbearable abdominal pain, which may increase, even with the slightest movement. If the ulcer grows into the stomach lining, the pain may become frequent and extreme.
- Belching: One of the symptoms of bleeding peptic ulcer that tends to be ignored is continued or excessive belching. Belching can also be accompanied with acid reflux disease and abdominal pain.
- Changes in Weight: Since the signs of a stomach ulcer are often misunderstood to be those of a heartburn or some other ailment of the stomach, the individual, in order to ease these signs tends to overeat. This may lead to the person becoming overweight.
- Bloating: When the bleeding lesion is present at the base of the duodenum of the small intestine, then a scar tissue may form which can block the path between the stomach and the duodenum. This condition is also known as duodenal ulcer. The individual may experience bloating, abdominal fullness and a feeling of nausea followed by vomiting.
Treating Stomach Lesions
Before administering treatment, the physician may conduct a few diagnostic tests like a physical exam, blood tests, upper gastrointestinal (GI) series and endoscopy to determine the intensity of the problem. He may also analyze the previous medical history and assess the signs exhibited. Treatment for bleeding ulcer involves certain types of medication. These drugs include antibiotics and antihistamines like H2 blockers. Antibiotics are used to treat the ulcers, if they are caused by the presence of a kind of bacteria called H. pylori. Antacids may also be prescribed to reduce acidity in the stomach. In severe cases, if the situation gives rise to complications, then the individual may have to undergo surgery. A diet for this condition must include nutrients to reduce the effect of the ulcer. The diet must contain food that is rich in fiber to aid proper and better digestion of food. Intake of protein rich foods must also be increased to help in the quicker healing and repair of the tissues.
Bleeding stomach ulcers can be avoided by practicing a healthy lifestyle and avoiding the consumption of alcohol and smoking. The chances of getting a bleeding ulcer can also be reduced by curbing the excessive use of anti-inflammatory and non steroidal medication. Take care!