A stomach ulcer, also known as a gastric ulcer, is a common yet often misunderstood health issue in India. These painful sores that develop in the lining of the stomach can lead to various complications if left untreated. In this blog, we will delve into the causes, signs, symptoms, and treatment options for stomach ulcers, with a focus on the Indian context.
Without the proper medical care and treatment, such ulcers can escalate really quickly, and to that end, visiting a top hospital in Lucknow whenever peptic ulcer symptoms make their presence felt makes quite a lot of sense.
Understanding a stomach ulcer
Before we explore the specifics, let’s grasp the basics of stomach ulcers. These ulcers are open sores that form when the protective lining of the stomach or the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) becomes compromised. This erosion can be attributed to various factors.
What causes stomach ulcers?
In India, what causes stomach ulcers can be attributed to a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and dietary factors. Some common causes include:
Helicobacter pylori Infection (H. pylori): This bacterial infection is a major contributor to what causes stomach ulcers in India, affecting a significant portion of the population. It’s estimated that over 50% of Indians are infected with H. pylori. This bacterium weakens the protective mucous layer of the stomach, making it susceptible to damage from stomach acids.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): The use of NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, is widespread in India. Prolonged or excessive use of these drugs can irritate the stomach lining and lead to ulcer formation.
Spicy and Irritating Foods: Indian cuisine is known for its spicy and flavourful dishes. While these foods are delicious, excessive consumption of spicy and irritating foods can aggravate existing ulcers or contribute to their development.
Smoking and Alcohol: Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption are prevalent in India and are known risk factors for a stomach ulcer. These substances can weaken the stomach lining and exacerbate ulcer symptoms.
Peptic ulcer symptoms and signs
Identifying a stomach ulcer in its early stages is crucial for effective treatment. Here are some common peptic ulcer signs to watch out for:
Burning Pain: The most prevalent peptic ulcer symptoms is a burning or gnawing pain in the upper abdomen, often occurring between meals and in the early hours of the morning. This pain can last for minutes or hours and may be temporarily relieved by eating or taking antacids.
Nausea and Vomiting: Individuals with stomach ulcers may experience nausea and vomiting, particularly after eating. The vomit may sometimes contain blood or appear dark and tarry.
Weight Loss: Chronic stomach ulcers can lead to unintended weight loss due to reduced appetite and discomfort while eating.
Bloody Stools: Stomach ulcers can cause bleeding in the digestive tract, which may manifest as black, tarry stools or stools with visible blood.
Indigestion: Persistent indigestion, bloating, and a feeling of fullness may also be potential peptic ulcer symptoms.
Diagnosis of stomach ulcer
If you suspect you have a stomach ulcer, it’s essential to seek medical advice promptly. Your healthcare provider may perform various tests to confirm the diagnosis. Common diagnostic methods include:
Endoscopy: A thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end (endoscope) is used to examine the stomach and duodenum for ulcers and other abnormalities.
Barium X-ray: You may be asked to swallow a chalky liquid containing barium, which coats the digestive tract, making ulcers visible on X-rays.
Blood and Stool Tests: These tests can help determine if you have an H. pylori infection or if you’re experiencing internal bleeding.
Stomach Ulcer Treatment Options
Once diagnosed, a stomach ulcer treatment in India may include the following:
Antibiotics: If an H. pylori infection is detected, a course of antibiotics, often combined with acid-reducing medications, is prescribed. This approach is highly effective in treating H. pylori-related ulcers.
Acid-Reducing Medications: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2-receptor antagonists are commonly used to reduce stomach acid production, allowing the ulcer to heal. These medications also help alleviate pain and discomfort. It is an effective stomach ulcer treatment protocol in this day and age.
Lifestyle Modifications: Patients are often advised to make certain lifestyle changes, such as avoiding spicy foods, reducing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and managing stress. These changes can significantly improve the healing process.
Dietary Changes: In India, where dietary habits play a vital role in health, adopting a balanced and non-irritating diet can be instrumental in ulcer management. This may include consuming smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding acidic and spicy foods.
Herbal Remedies: Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine, offers various herbal remedies for stomach ulcers. Aloe vera, liquorice, and turmeric are among the herbs often recommended for their potential healing properties.
Stomach ulcers are a common issue in India, with various factors contributing to their development. Understanding the causes, signs, symptoms, and treatment options is essential for effective management. If you are experiencing peptic ulcer symptoms, consult a healthcare professional promptly to receive the appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits can go a long way in preventing the development of stomach ulcers in the first place. By taking proactive steps, you can protect your stomach’s delicate lining and ensure better digestive health.
Get in touch with the best super-speciality hospital in Lucknow to address all your stomach ulcer-related issues today.