Stomach Ulcers Causes and Treatment
The cause of stomach ulcers is an infection with H. pylori. Treatment for this condition depends on the cause. Usually, treatment will involve killing the H. pylori bacterium is present, removing or decreasing the use of NSAIDs if possible, and helping your ulcer to heal with medication.
What Is A Stomach Ulcer And How Common It Is?
A stomach ulcer is an open sore that develops in your stomach lining. It occurs when the protective mucous lining in your stomach and duodenum has been eroded which allows gastric acids and digestive enzymes to eat away at your stomach and duodenal walls. This eventually causes an open sore that is continually irritated by the acid.
Stomach ulcers are very common in Western countries. Some estimates say that 1 in 10 people will have one at some point in their lives. That’s because many of the causes that contribute to stomach ulcers are common in Western life. Fortunately, these causes are usually easy to trace and reverse, giving ulcers a chance to heal and your stomach lining a chance to repair.
What Causes Stomach Ulcer?
The two most common causes are:
H. pylori infection – this common bacterial infection affects up to half of the people globally. It mainly lives in the stomach. Several people have reported no problems with it. It is kept in check by their gut immune system. However, some individuals are infected with H. pylori overgrowth. Peptic ulcer disease and chronic inflammation are caused by the bacteria multiplying in the stomach lining. H. pylori infection is associated with about 60% of duodenal ulcers and 40% of gastric ulcers.
Overuse of NSAIDs – contributes to ulcers in several ways. They irritate the mucous lining of the stomach and repress some of the chemicals that protect and repair it. There is a 30% chance of developing peptic ulcers in people who take NSAIDs regularly. Overuse of NSAIDs causes up to 50% of stomach ulcers.
The less common cause of stomach ulcers include:
Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome – this is a rare condition that causes your stomach to produce too much gastric acid.
Severe physiological stress – severe illness, burns, or injuries can produce stress ulcers in the stomach. Physiological stress changes your body’s PH balance, increasing stomach acid. Stress ulcers develop very quickly in response to stress, unlike normal stomach ulcers that develop gradually.
Treatment for Stomach Ulcer
Treatment for stomach ulcers depends on the cause.
You may find relief from the pain of a stomach ulcer if you:
- Consider switching pain relievers.
- Control stress. Stress may worsen the symptoms of a stomach ulcer.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking may interfere with the protective lining of the stomach which makes your stomach more susceptible to the development of an ulcer. Smoking also increases stomach acid.
- Limit or avoid alcohol. Excessive use of alcohol can irritate and erode the mucous lining in your stomach and intestines which causes inflammation and bleeding.
Recommended medication for stomach ulcers: