Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
It’s thought that about 10 per cent of us will get stomach ulcers in our lifetime, with men over 60 thought to be most at risk.
Fortunately, this relatively common condition is usually fairly mild. Once a doctor has found the underlying cause, there are treatments available that will speed up your recovery. If you’re having problems with your stomach, talk to one of our GPs today.
Symptoms of a Stomach Ulcer
A stomach ulcer is a sore on your stomach lining. While not always painful, some people will experience a burning sensation in their stomach as these sores become more irritated.
More serious symptoms include blood in your vomit, black stools or a sudden, sharp pain in your stomach that won’t go away. If these symptoms occur, see a doctor as soon as possible.
What Causes Stomach Ulcers?
An ulcer in your stomach is caused when the lining is broken down by your stomach acid. There are a number of possible reasons why this might be happening:
- A bacterial infection
- A side effect of common medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen
- Smoking is also thought to increase the chance of stomach ulcers developing
Treatment for Stomach Ulcers
Most stomach ulcers will clear up within a couple of months. Your doctor will suggest treatment based on the cause of the problem.
For example, if a bacterial infection is responsible, a course of antibiotics can be prescribed. If aspirin or ibuprofen is to blame, switching your medication to an alternative such as paracetamol is likely to be a priority.
You might be given a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), which will decrease the acid levels in your stomach and help the ulcers to heal faster.
If indigestion is one of your symptoms, you might want to cut out the foods responsible until your ulcers have gone away. However, there’s no evidence to suggest that not eating certain foods, such as spices, will help your ulcers heal any quicker.