Are You Suffering From Stomach Ulcers?
Ever felt that painful, clawing feeling in the middle or upper part of your stomach, which happens between meals, sometimes even throughout the night? This could simply be hyperacidity, but it can also be ulcers. Hyperacidity happens when the gastric juices (hydrochloric acid) in the stomach, which aids in digesting foods, increases in quantity. It is also this condition that can lead to gastritis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach) and peptic ulcers.
So what causes ulcers? There have been different theories through the years that attempted to point to the cause, from lifestyle to genetic predisposition. But a relatively new theory points to a bacterial infection as the primary cause, as research have shown that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is present in 80% of stomach ulcers.
But other factors also seem to contribute to the formation of ulcers: overuse of OTC painkillers, smoking, heavy alcohol drinking, even certain foods. Other studies have also shown that the condition is more likely to affect older people due to taking OTC painkillers for body pains such as arthritis. Another reason would be because of advancing age the pylorus (valve between the stomach and duodoneum) starts to relax and allows excess bile to get into the stomach, which can erode the stomach lining.
Stomach ulcers are treatable either by taking antibiotics, antacids, or other medications that can reduce production of acids in the stomach. But it should be noted that ulcers should not be taken lightly as well, as this can become dangerous when left untreated. When ulcers become severe this can lead to symptoms that include bleeding (evidenced by dark stool), weight loss, and vomiting blood.
If you suffer from stomach ulcers, you will need to have this monitored by your doctor. Also, you will need to make a few lifestyle changes. You will need to avoid foods that can exacerbate the condition, such as drinking milk, as this can stimulate your stomach to produce more acids and digestive juices. You will also need to stop taking OTC pain relievers if these are found to be the cause of your ulcers, as well as stop smoking and drinking.
You hear ‘ulcers’ often that it seems an everyday thing, but don’t be fooled, as it can be serious. Being knowledgeable is always the best defense.