What Is Peptic Ulcer?

Ulcer is a common, albeit very painful stomach problem. Ulcer is common in adults. The doctor’s report that about 1 in every 10 people will eventually get an ulcer.

What is an ulcer?

An ulcer, or a peptic ulcer, is basically a sore. These sores form in the upper part of the small intestine called the duodenum. They cause a sharp or burning pain in the stomach.

The pain usually follows a few hours after you eat. Stomach pains can also happen at night or early in the morning when the

This pain often comes a few hours after eating. It can also happen during the night or early in the morning, when the stomach is empty. Eating usually makes the pain go away.

What causes ulcers?

For about 100 years, doctors believed that spicy foods and stress caused ulcers. But in 1982, Doctor Barry Marshall and Dr. Robin Warren made a discovery that changed this belief. They found a certain kind of bacteria which lives and grows in the stomach and causing most ulcers.

This bacteria is called Helicobacter pylori. This bacteria cause ulcers by weakening the protective coating of the stomach and upper small intestine. Acid in the stomach gets through to the sensitive lining in the digestive system underneath. Acid and bacteria, irritate the lining to the point where sores are formed.

Although most ulcers are caused by the helicobacter pylori bacteria, some can be caused by medications such as pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen. Ulcers can also be caused by medical conditions such as cancer of the stomach or pancreas. This happens very rarely though. Some habits like drinking and alcohol and smoking cigarettes can also increase the risks of getting ulcer.

Who gets helicobacter pylori infection?

A lot of people have helicobacter pylori infection. About 2 out of every 10 people younger than 40 years old have it. The thing is, most infected people do not develop ulcers. Doctors suspect that the reason may be due to the individual person’s lifestyle, medical history, etc. It may also have something to do with the type of helicobacter pylori bacteria present in the stomach, and also the type of acid.

How to treat ulcers?

If you feel any unusual stomach pains it is best to consult your doctor. Especially it is a sharp or burning pain in the stomach.

When testing for ulcers, your doctor can do a blood test to check for helicobacter pylori, and a number of other tests such as a stomach x-ray. Another more uncomfortable test involves a thin tube being guided down to a person’s throat and stomach to see what’s in the patient’s intestines.

A person with ulcer can be treated by taking medications. Since helicobacter pylori is a bacteria, patient with ulcer can take antibiotics to kill the bacteria. A patient with ulcer can also take medications to lessen the acid in his/her stomach. This medication acts as a protection to the lining so the ulcer can heal.

How to prevent ulcers?

Doctors are still unsure how helicobacter pylori travel from one person to another. Doctors suspect kissing may be one way since bacteria have been found in saliva. Helicobacter pylori may also be transmitted through food, water or vomit. It is important to always wash your hands to lessen the risks of getting helicobacter pylori.


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