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Stomach Ulcers

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Do you need to test for a stomach ulcer? A stomach ulcer is also called a peptic ulcer, duodenal ulcer or gastric ulcer, dependent on which part of the digestive tract it is formed in. A stomach ulcer is a small break in the lining in the small intestine, stomach or esophagus which is said to be caused by steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs but the main culprit is a bacteria called H. pylori which erodes the lining of the digestive tract and forms the perforation. Bad health habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol or coffee excessively can irritate an already formed ulcer as these things increase your stomach acid.

The bacteria H. pylori was only discovered to be the cause of stomach ulcers in 2005

Although, diet is not an important factor in getting an ulcer, treatment usually last 4 weeks and include stopping drinking and smoking and certain medications so that the stomach acid decreases. Surgery is sometimes performed for serious cases and antibiotics can be used but are not always effective. Antacids to decrease the stomach acid are also used. Never take an aspirin or an anti-inflammatory medication as this can increase the problem. Buying an over the counter antacid from the pharmacy can help neutralize the acid in your digestive tract and soothe the symptoms. An ulcer, if left untreated can lead to a blockage in the stomach and bleeding from perforation. The symptoms vary from person to person and can be:-

  • Vomiting (if you vomit blood go immediately to emergency as the ulcer may have hemorrhaged)
  • Weight loss/poor appetite
  • Burping
  • Burning or aching in stomach (anywhere from a few minutes to hours)
  • Upper abdominal pain which is relieved by eating (this pain is worse at night)

The bacteria H. pylori was only discovered to be the cause of stomach ulcers in 2005 and garnered the scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren a Nobel Prize for this discovery. So because not a lot was known about stomach ulcers for such a long time, there have been many deaths from ulcers since they were first noted back when Princess Henrietta of England was found to have one in 1670. 10 % of the population will have an ulcer at some stage of their lives and they affect men and woman equally however are rare in children and teens. This percentage equals approximately 4.6 million people getting ulcers annually! In 2013 the statistics for death by ulcer that year were noted at 301,000. They cause serious complications and should not be ignored.

The H Pylori test at home:-

If you suspect you may have an ulcer, there is an at home test you can do. It is as simple as a small blood sample from a finger prick and getting the results in minutes. Also, you will be testing for the bacteria H.pylori so if you have been treated for an ulcer before you can still get a positive reading up to one year later. If you have not been treated before you should also consult your doctor for treatment.

Stomach Ulcers