What is an Ulcer?
An ulcer can be simply defined as the presence of a sore or painful wound. There are different types of Ulcers and the exact causes for these ulcers vary. According to the research – stress, having more spicy foods, infectious diseases and use of alcohol are the main factors related to its causes.
Ulcers can appear anywhere in or on our body and few among them disappear on their own, while others require treatment to prevent serious complications. The causes, symptoms and their treatments usually vary.
Stomach ulcers occur when the thick protective mucus lining of the stomach is reduced. This lining protects the stomach from digestive juices. These digestive juices destroy the lining of the stomach resulting in ulcers.
Ulcers can be diagnosed by the following methods:
- Barium Swallow: In this, the patient is asked to drink thick white barium liquid that covers the upper gastrointestinal tract that helps the doctor to see the stomach and small intestine on X-rays.
- Endoscopy: In this, a thin-lighted tube is inserted inside the stomach and the initial part of the small intestine. Thus the doctors can detect any bleeding or ulcers, or any abnormal tissues in the body.
- Biopsy: A small tissue is removed and is analyzed in the lab.
Ulcers can be caused due to either of the following reasons:
- It can be caused due to infection with bacterium H.pylori.
- Prolonged use of drugs such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen.
- A rare condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome can also result in ulcers. In this condition, there is an increased production of acid by the body.
Symptoms of Ulcers
The most common symptom of this condition is burning pain. Other symptoms may include:
- Itchy Skin
- Chest Pain.
- Loss of Appetite.
- Nausea or Vomiting.
- Dark or bloody stools.
- Early feeling of fullness
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Swollen glands in the groin area.
- Rash or bumps in the affected area.
- Pain or itching around the affected area.
These were common symptoms of an ulcer. These can be easily cured and prevented by taking proper treatment such as antibiotics, balanced diet, and in very rare cases, surgery is required for increasing the blood flow to the tissues and organs.