Stomach Ulcers

What are Gastric Ulcers?

peptic ulcer in the stomach is a called a gastric ulcer. The lining of the stomach and the intestines are strong enough to protect itself. When this lining breaks down the tissue becomes swollen and inflamed.

Gastric ulcer or stomach ulcer is usually caused by a bacterial infection called H. pylori. Stomach produces acid to fight the bacteria in the stomach. And to protect the stomach from these corrosive acids, the duodenum creates a natural mucus lining barrier to protect itself.

There is a balance maintained between the amount of acid and the mucus produced. When this balance is altered, the acid automatically damages the lining of the stomach and leads to the formation of ulcers.

Causes
  • H. pylori bacterium infection
  • Excessive usage of NSAIDs – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen
  • Excessive Smoking
  • Hypercalcemia – excessive production of calcium
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome – a disease that makes the body produce excessive acid
  • Unrestrained consumption of alcohol

Symptoms

Some of the predominant symptoms of gastric ulcers include:

  • Weight loss
  • Burning and dull pain in the stomach
  • Vomiting blood
  • Burping and bloating
  • Consumption of food and liquids does not relieve the pain
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain within one or two hours of eating
  • Special diet recommendations

Diagnosis Tests

Endoscopic biopsy: A part of the stomach tissue is extracted for analysis. This test is usually conducted when the patient has witnessed significant weight loss or bleeding.

Barium x-ray: Barium is a thick white liquid that is ingested by the patient. The stomach and intestine become prominent and examined under the x-ray.

Endoscopy: A thin tube with light at the end of it is inserted through the mouth and into the stomach to examine and locate the presence of an ulcer.

Treatments

Majority of ulcers are managed by antacid therapy and eradication of H. pylori infection.

Complications of ulcers like bleeding or perforation require emergency surgery. Gastric ulcers may require removal of a part of the stomach. Duodenal ulcer perforation can be managed by simple repair with omental patch. Experienced GI and laparoscopic surgeons can manage even complicated ulcers by laparoscopy.