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5 Common Causes of Ulcer (Peptic Ulcer)

My Doctor Finder
January 18, 2016

A peptic ulcer may occur suddenly without you even noticing the primary signs. Diagnosis and treatment for ulcer depends on the severity of one’s case. For the gastroenterologist to diagnose one’s stomach ulcer, she or he must review your medical history along with the cause of one’s ulcer, symptoms and any medications you are currently taking.

Several factors may cause your ulcer. Here are the most common factors that may contribute to your ulcer case:

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) – This is a major causative factor of duodenal ulcer. The immune system is unable to clear the infection that later on result to a chronic active gastritis.

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) – Long term use of NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen especially those who intake it in high doses.

  • Stress – This may fall under the category of lifestyle habits. Stress may cause people to eat certain foods, consume alcohol, start smoking, and furthermore complicate one’s habits. With this lifestyle, people are prone to excessive acidity or also known as hyperacidity.

  • Diet – Dietary factors such as spice consumption and caffeine may be a minor factor. However, with excess intake, one’s risk of having a stomach ulcer increases.

  • Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome – This is a rare disease that makes the body produce excess stomach acid.

A number of symptoms are associated with stomach ulcers. The severity of the ulcer will now be the basis of one’s diagnosis and treatment. But, how are stomach ulcers diagnosed? Self-diagnosing won’t do! You must go directly to a gastroenterologist and seek for his or her immediate medical assistance. A blood, stool, or breath test may be ordered. Other tests and procedures involve the use of medical tools such as the barium x-ray, endoscopy, and endoscopic biopsy. As what was mentioned above, the diagnosis and treatment for ulcer depends on the severity of one’s case.

Once the diagnosis has been done, your doctor will now suggest a treatment plan. You have the option between a surgical or nonsurgical treatment. It is important to promptly treat an ulcer. Most ulcer cases are treated with a prescription from your doctor, but in some cases, surgery is recommended.

If your ulcer case is because of the H. pylori bacteria, your doctor will be prescribing you some antibiotics and other medications such as:

  • H2 blockers – This will prevent your stomach from producing too much acid.

  • Proton pump inhibitors – This will block the cells that produce acid.

  • Over-the-counter antacids – This will help balance one’s acid level.

  • Cytoprotective agents – This will protect the lining of one’s stomach and small intestine.

Symptoms of a stomach ulcer may subside quickly once the treatment process has started. However, you must continue to take your doctor’s prescription to prevent the recurrence of your stomach ulcer. In some cases, surgery is required for the person to heal completely.

Once symptoms start to show, seek treatment as soon as possible. For the longer an ulcer remains untreated, the more likely you are to develop complications.

Sources:
“Stomach Ulcer” by Shannon Johnson of Healthline
“What is Peptic Ulcer Disease?” by WebMD