Gastric ulcer or stomach ulcer disease is a very painful, nagging condition. Peptic ulcer disease or PUD is the term that it is medically used for stomach ulcer. The stomach lining is locally affected by erosion or a formation of a hallow surface (ulcer). This causes pain and possible bleeding. Many have complained of such as pain felt during meals or after meals. This condition may come and go but if it has severely progressed, recurrence is extremely expected. So without proper treatment and care, most likely the condition can bug you in the long course of your life.
Non-cancerous (benign) gastric ulcers are caused by an imbalance between stomach acid, an enzyme called pepsin, and the natural defenses of the stomach’s lining. This imbalance leads to inflammation, which can be made worse by aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.
Risk factors for benign gastric ulcers include:
Use of aspirin and NSAIDs
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection
Mechanical ventilation (being put on a breathing machine)
Certain blood clotting problems
Vomiting, especially vomiting blood
Blood in stools or black, tarry stools
Unintentional weight loss
The medical management for peptic ulcer disease is to medicate, reduce excessive acid secretions and lifestyle modifications. The use of antacids such as the famous Maalox and Tums is quite common in relieving pain. The use of cytoprotective drugs is essential in defending the mucosal lining and avoiding further damage of the stomach. Sucralfate (Carafate) and misoprostol (Cytotec) are the common drugs used for stomach ulcers. Proton-pump inhibitors such as omeprazole (Prilosec) and lansoprazole (Prevacid) target the inhibition of acid production. H2- antagonists’ reduces stomach acidity thus obstructing the delay of more ulcer outbreaks. The common generic name is ranitidine.
We need to control the bacteria H. pylori. There is no direct cure from this bacteria, but we can lessen the infection by taking medications. Amoxicillin (Amoxil) is a recommended antimicrobial. Other drugs include clarithromycin, metronidazole and tetracycline. Antibiotics are much very helpful if taken with a proton-pump inhibitor.
For people with Helicobacter pylori infection, the main goal is to get rid of the bacteria that causes the infection. Many different medicines work. They usually include either an H2 receptor antagonist such as famotidine (Pepcid) or nizatidine (Axid) or a proton pump inhibitor such as omeprazole (Prilosec) or esomeprazole (Nexium) to suppress acid, combined with two antibiotics.
After you finish your medicines, your doctor will likely order a test to make sure that the H. pylori infection is gone.
Those who do not have an H. pylori infection may be prescribed ulcer-healing medications such as antacids, H2 receptor antagonists, or proton pump inhibitors. Long-term treatment may be needed.
If the ulcer bleeds, endoscopy can control bleeding in most cases.
Surgery may be recommended for persons who do not respond to medicines or endoscopy. Surgical procedures for gastric ulcers include:
Vagotomy - cuts the vagus nerve, which controls the stomach’s production of gastric acid
Partial gastrectomy - removes part of the stomach
Self-help measures include eating several small meals a day at regular time periods and avoiding the following:
Tea, coffee, and soft drinks containing caffeine
Aspirin and NSAIDs