Stomach Ulcer-Causes,Prevention And Treatment.
An ulcer is a chronic sore in the stomach or small intestine, it is caused by too much acid. When there is a frequent or lasting acid indigestion, it is a warning sign of an ulcer.
Acid indigestion and heartburn often come from eating too much heavy or greasy food or from drinking too much alcohol or coffee. These make the stomach produce extra acid, which causes discomfort or a burning feeling in the stomach or mid-chest. Some people mistake the chest pain known as heartburn for a heart problem rather than indigestion.
If the pain gets worse when lying down, it is probably heartburn.
This can cause a chronic or dull (sometimes sharp) pain in the pit of the stomach. As with acid indigestion, the pains lessens when the person eats food or drinks a lot of water. The pain usually gets worse an hour or more after eating.
If the person misses a meal or after drinking alcohol or eats fatty or spicy foods, pain is often worse at night. Without a special examination (endoscopy) it is often hard to know whether a person with frequent stomach pain has an ulcer or not.
If the ulcer is severe, it can cause vomiting, sometimes with fresh blood or with digested blood that looks like coffee grounds. Stools with blood from an ulcer are usually black like tar.
NOTE : Some ulcers are painless or silent and the first sign is blood in vomit or black sticky stools. This case requires medical emergency. The person should be taken to the hospital soon as possible because the person can bleed to death.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
Whether stomach or chest pain is caused by heartburn, acid indigestion or an ulcer, a few basic recommendations will probably help calm the pain and prevent it from coming back.
- Notice what foods or drinks makes the pain worse and avoid them. These usually include alcoholic drinks, coffee, spices, pepper, carbonated drinks (soda,pop,colas), fatty or greasy foods.
- Do not eat too much. Eat small meals and eat frequent snacks between meals. Eat mainly foods that seem to calm and not cause pain.
- If the heartburn is worse at night when lying flat, try sleeping with the upper body somewhat raised.
- Drink a lot of water. Try to drink 2 big glasses of water both before and after each meal. Also drink a lot of water frequently between meals. If the pain comes often, keep drinking water like this, even in those times when you have no pains.
- Avoid tobacco. Smoking or chewing tobacco increases stomach acid and makes the problem worse.
- Take antacids. The best and safest antacids contain magnesium and aluminum hydroxide.
- For several pain or ulcers that do not get better, try to get cimetidine (Tagamet or Ranitidine). These are very expensive but usually very effective at calming the pain and helping to heal the sores. But the ulcer may come back.
- Aloe vera is a plant found in many countries that is said to heal ulcers. Chop the spongy leaves into small pieces, soak them in water overnight and then drink one glass of the slimy bitter water every 2 hours.
Many doctors used to recommend milk for treatment of ulcers. Though milk may calm the pain at first but it causes an increase in stomach acid which can make an ulcer worse. Most doctors now don’t advice people with ulcer to drink milk as a treatment because of the stomach acid increase.
Milk and some antacids such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and Alka-seltzer may quickly calm acid indigestion but soon cause more acid. They should be used only for occasional indigestion, never for ulcers. This is also true for antacids with calcium.
Some medicines such as aspirin and iron salts make ulcer worse. Persons with the signs of heartburn or acid indigestion should avoid them or take them with extra care (with meals, lots of water and antacids). Cortico-steroids also make ulcers worse or can even cause ulcer.
It is important to treat an ulcer early. Otherwise, it may lead to dangerous bleeding or peritonitis. Ulcers usually get better if the person is careful with what he or she eats or drinks. Anger, tension and nervousness increases acid in the stomach. Learning to relax and keep calm will help. Continued care is necessary to prevent the ulcer from returning.
Make sure that you avoid problems caused by stomach acid by not eating too much, by not drinking too much alcohol or coffee and also by not smoking