Could your upset stomach be due to an ulcer?
Stomach ulcers are more common than you might think. While stomach ulcers alone are something worth taking care of, it’s also a sign that you could be suffering from peptic ulcer disease. In fact, about 4 million Americans suffer from this condition, according to the American Gastroenterological Association. Our Edinburg and Weslaco, TX, gastroenterologist, Dr. S. Murthy Badiga, wants you to know more about stomach ulcers, as well as how to prevent them and treat them if they happen to you.
What can cause stomach ulcers to form?
These uncomfortable sores often occur when the mucus that usually coats the stomach has decreased in thickness, causing the regular acids that form during digestion to erode the lining of the stomach. There are many habits and illnesses that can lead to stomach ulcers including,
- A family history of ulcers
- Being a heavy drinker
- Using NSAID pain relievers for a long time (or overusing them)
- H. pylori bacterial infection
- Taking steroids
What are the symptoms of a stomach ulcer?
One of the most common warning signs that you may have a stomach ulcer is a gnawing or burning feeling in the stomach (anywhere above the belly button and below the chest). You may find that this burning sensation is worse when you have an empty stomach. Eating foods or taking antacids may temporarily relieve your pain. You may also experience acid reflux, heartburn, bloating and nausea.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, no matter how mild, it’s important that you talk to our Edinburg and Weslaco gastrointestinal doctor.
How can I prevent these ulcers from forming?
To protect yourself against bacteria infection-related ulcers, the best thing you can do is make sure that food is properly cooked and that you always wash your hands. If you are a smoker or heavy alcohol consumer, these are two habits to ditch if you want to prevent ulcers from forming. You should always stop taking NSAIDs.
If I do have stomach ulcers, how are they treated?
How we decide to treat your stomach ulcers will really depend on the root cause. Of course, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as ulcers can become serious if left untreated. If ulcers are the result of a bacterial infection, we will prescribe antibiotics, as well as other medications that affect stomach acid production.
If you are experiencing new or worsening stomach pains, it’s always a good idea to get professional medical care to find out what might be going on. Trust in the gastrointestinal experts at Renaissance Gastroenterology in Edinburg and Weslaco, TX.