Did you know that when we have a deep wound in the lining of the stomach and it causes us very strong pain, it is likely that we have a gastric ulcer or also known as a peptic ulcer in the stomach. In this article I will explain in detail its causes, symptoms and treatments that allow us to treat it in time so that it does not aggravate our health.
Multiple causal factors alter the harmonious relationship between gastric juices and stomach mucosa, causing an inflammatory imbalance that can lead to loss of epithelial integrity. Faced with this imbalance, extremely acidic gastric juices end up generating autolysis or self-digestion of the epithelium, resulting in a wound or injury to the stomach wall, known as a gastric or peptic ulcer.
This disease occurs when the defense mechanisms of the mucosa or the controlling mechanisms of LCH secretion are altered.
One in ten people in the world will suffer from gastric ulcers, generally between their 50s and 70s; of which 80 to 90% will suffer recurrences in the following two years. Patients with a family history have a 20 to 50% chance of suffering from this disease. A si as well as blood group O has a 30% higher risk than other groups.
Causes of Gastric Ulcer
The cause of an ulcer can originate due to exogenous and endogenous factors . Next I will explain in detail how they intervene in the digestive mechanisms.
They are the most common, to which gastric ulcers are generally attributed.
- Helicobacter pylori: It is a gram negative bacterium capable of living in an inhospitable stomach environment, circumventing the body’s defenses by staying in the mucosa, causing inflammation of the epithelium by gastric juices.
- 80% of the world population is infected with H. pylori, however only 10 to 20% will end up suffering from gastritis and gastric ulcers. 80% of people affected by gastric ulcers are infected by this bacterium, which places it as the first causative agent.
- Medications: Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs (aspirin), acetylsalicylic acid or corticosteroids (hydrocortisone, betamethasone) used as analgesic and antipyretic, especially in chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, can cause ulcers.
- NSAIDs inhibit the production of prostaglandins (PG) by acting on the enzyme cyclooxygenase. These PGs maintain the integrity and proliferation of the mucosa to exert its protective function against hydrochloric acid (HCL) and pepsin. By decreasing the PG, the mucosa becomes vulnerable, increasing the risk of epithelial erosion.
- Cigarettes and Alcohol: Nicotine stimulates the production of gastric acids during the night and high alcohol alcohol inflames the surface of the stomach lining.
Characterized by an excessive production of gastric acids.
- Peristaltic motility alterations: with this movement disturbance, solid foods are delayed in their transit. The direction of traffic is also altered, returning food mixed with bile juices from the duodenum to the stomach.
- Epidermal growth factor deficiency: protein that promotes the repair of damage to the mucosa and inhibits the secretion of gastric juices.
- Hyperparathyroidism: they increase the production of HCL, stimulating the cells that secrete gastrin thanks to the excess of calcium.
- Zollinger Ellison syndrome: HCL increases, thanks to the overproduction of the hormone gastrin.
Symptoms of Ú Ulcer Gastric
The symptoms of small gastric or peptic ulcers may not cause discomfort, and may heal spontaneously, however patients refer to causing symptoms:
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- Vomiting which in some cases can be bloody.
- Dyspepsia (pain, indigestion, bloating, heartburn, nausea, vomiting).
- Anemia, black and sticky stools with blood from hemorrhagic ulcers.
- Intolerance to fats, condiments, spicy, hot foods.
- Problems drinking the usual amount of liquid.
- Pains in the left hypochondrium that wake up at night.
- Acid reflux or belching
Its diagnosis will depend a lot on the symptoms presented and the severity of the ulcer. In this part, it is necessary to visit a doctor, where depending on your medical history and the signs present, the studies and pertinent treatments will be carried out.
To demonstrate the presence of H. pylori, the following tests are available:
- Stool examination.
- Blood test.
- Breath test.
By anamnesis can be identified if it is an ulcer drug. But only after an endoscopy can the presence of an ulcer be confirmed. In this procedure, a thin tube is inserted into the mouth into the stomach and part of the small intestine for more precise examination and detection.
An endoscopic biopsy may also be done , where a piece of stomach tissue is removed for testing in the laboratory. Another procedure is the barium swallow , which consists of taking X-rays of the small intestine and your stomach, but for that, it is necessary to drink a thick and white liquid (barium) that covers the upper gastrointestinal tract, so that your doctor can observe it.
Treatment Ú ulcers Stomach
As we have mentioned, the treatment will depend on the cause of the ulcer . In some cases, this can be treated with a prescription and in other cases, a surgical intervention is necessary.
It is important to treat an ulcer immediately, because if not, it can get out of hand and reach very extreme cases. For this reason, always talk to your doctor regarding an appropriate treatment plan for you.If an active bleeding ulcer occurs, you will most likely be hospitalized for more intensive treatment with intravenous ulcer medications and a endoscopy.
Here are some options to consider:
- Change in lifestyle.
- Medications : They are focused on reducing stomach pH (antacids), decreasing the secretion of hydrochloric acid (h2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors) to eradicate H. pylori (antibiotics: amoxicillin and clarithromycin), as well as also to the protection of the mucosa (sulcrafate, bismuth).
- Cauterization of hemorrhagic ulcers through endoscopies .
- Surgical intervention : before stomach wall perforations (vagotomy, partial gastrectomy)
We recommend not self-medicating and always contact your doctor. If you suffer from a chronic disease, accompany NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) with Misoprostol to prevent ulcers.
Remember that to prevent the appearance of ulcers, it is necessary to eat a healthy diet avoiding those foods that can harm us, such as anything that is rich in fat. Likewise, it is necessary to stop smoking and avoid drinking alcoholic or carbonated beverages at all costs.
Do not abuse medications, since the effect we can achieve can be negative. However, anti-ulcer drugs can help you heal the lesions and if they have detected the H.pylori bacteria, you can combine them with antibiotics if necessary and as directed by your doctor.