Health -ulcers

What is an ulcer?

Ulcers are sores on the lining of your digestive tract. Your digestive tract consists of the esophagus, stomach, duodenum (the first part of the intestines) and intestines. Most ulcers are located in the duodenum. These ulcers are called duodenal ulcers. Ulcers located in the stomach are called gastric ulcers. Ulcers in the esophagus are called esophageal ulcers.

What causes ulcers?

Doctors used to think ulcers were caused by stress or by eating food with too much acid in it. We now know this isn’t true. Most ulcers are caused by an infection. The infection is caused by a bacteria (germ) called Helicobacter pylori (say: hell-ee-ko-back-ter pie-lore-ee”), or H. pylori for short. Acid and other juices made by the stomach can contribute to ulcers by burning the lining of your digestive tract. This can happen if your body makes too much acid or if the lining of your digestive tract is damaged in some way. Physical or emotional stress may not necessarily cause an ulcer, but it can aggravate an ulcer if you have one.

Ulcers can also be caused by anti-inflammatory medicines. Although most people take these medicines without problems, long-term use may damage the stomach lining and cause ulcers. Anti-inflammatory drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen (one brand name: Motrin), naproxen (brand name: Aleve), ketoprofen (brand names: Actron, Orudis KT) and some prescription drugs for arthritis.

Are ulcers serious?

Most people with ulcers just have stomach pain. Some people don’t have any symptoms at all. But ulcers may cause other health problems. Sometimes they bleed. If the ulcers become too deep, they can break through the stomach. This is called perforation. Ulcers can block food from going through the stomach (called obstruction). This causes nausea, vomiting and weight loss. Get help right away if you have any of the warning signs in the box below.

Warning signs that your ulcer is getting worse

· You vomit blood.

· You vomit food eaten hours or days before.

· You feel cold or clammy.

· You feel unusually weak or dizzy.

· You have blood in your stools (blood may make your stools look black or like tar).

· You have ongoing nausea or repeated vomiting.

· You have sudden, severe pain.

· You keep losing weight.

· Your pain doesn't go away when you take your medicine.

· Your pain reaches to your back.








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