Stomach ulcer: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Definition

Stomach ulcers, which are also known as gastric ulcers, are painful sores in the stomach lining. Stomach ulcers are a type of peptic ulcer disease. Peptic ulcers are any ulcers that affect both the stomach and small intestines.

Stomach ulcers occur when the thick layer of mucus that protects your stomach from digestive juices is reduced. This allows the digestive acids to eat away at the tissues that line the stomach, causing an ulcer. Stomach ulcers may be easily cured, but they can become severe without proper treatment.

History

The road to a cure for ulcers has been a long and bumpy one. Recent news that ulcers are caused by a bacterium and can be cured with antibiotics has changed traditional thinking. Physicians and consumers have not been informed of the good news.

Early 20th Century

Ulcers are believed to be caused by stress and dietary factors. Treatment focuses on hospitalization, bed rest, and prescription of special bland foods. Later, gastric acid is blamed for ulcer disease. Antacids and medications that block acid production become the standard of therapy. Despite this treatment, there is a high recurrence of ulcers.

1982

Australian physicians Robin Warren and Barry Marshall first identify the link between Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and ulcers, concluding that the bacterium, not stress or diet, causes ulcers. The medical community is slow to accept their findings.

1994

A National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference concludes that there is a strong association between H. pylori and ulcer disease, and recommends that ulcer patients with H. pylori infection be treated with antibiotics.

Risk factors

Certain behaviors and factors increase the chances of developing a stomach ulcer; these include:

  • Frequent steroid usage.
  • Smoking
  • Overproducing calcium – hypercalcemia.
  • Genetics
  • Consuming alcohol frequently.
  • Age – they are more common in individuals over 50. People of any age can develop a stomach ulcer, but they are much less common in children. The risk in children is higher if their parents smoke.

Causes

The two main causes of ulcers of the stomach and small intestine are:

  • Helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • A class of painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, (NSAIDs)

Less common causes of stomach ulcers include:

  • Excess stomach acidity (hyperacidity) – this can occur for a range of reasons, including genetics, smoking, stress, and some foods
  • Zollinger-Ellison – a disease that causes an excess of stomach acid to be produced (rare)

Symptoms

You may not have any. If you do, they may include:

  • A gnawing or burning pain in your stomach between meals or at night
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

In severe cases, symptoms can include:

  • Dark or black stool
  • Vomiting blood or material that can look like coffee grounds
  • Weight loss
  • Severe pain in your belly

Diagnosis and test

Doctors follow the symptoms of a stomach ulcer by asking questions about how the pain feels, where and when it happens, and how frequent and long-lasting it has been.

This process helps to narrow down whether there is a stomach ulcer or not. Your doctor may also ask for a stool test or a breath test to find out whether the stomach ulcer is from Helicobacter pylori bacteria.

Endoscopy picture shows ulcer region 

If there are more serious symptoms such as bleeding the doctor may require further testing, which may include:

Endoscopy – A camera to look at the gut lining; a biopsy (tissue sample) may be taken

Barium enema – A thick liquid that allows X-rays to be taken of the gut

Treatment and medications

If the doctor thinks there is a stomach ulcer, they may try to remove the cause by:

  • If the cause is thought to be NSAIDs, they may change the type of painkiller being taken
  • Trying the “test-and-treat” approach if the cause is thought to be H. pylori bacteria
  • Once the cause has been removed, the symptoms of stomach ulcers can be treated by

protecting the ulcer from acid while it heals. Drugs a doctor could prescribe include:

  • A proton pump inhibitor (PPI) – blocks acid producing cells
  • H2-receptor antagonist – prevents stomach from producing excess acid
  • OTC antacids or alginate
  • Drugs that protect the stomach lining – Pepto-Bismol, for instance

Symptoms often subside quickly following treatment. However, the treatment should be continued, especially if the ulcer is due to an H. pylori infection. It is also important to avoid drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and any trigger foods during treatment.

Surgical treatments

In certain cases, surgery may be an option. For instance, if the ulcer continues to return, won’t heal, bleeds, or prevents food from leaving the stomach.

Surgery can include:

  • Removing the ulcer
  • Tying off bleeding blood vessels
  • Sewing tissue from another site onto the ulcer
  • Cutting the nerve that controls stomach acid production

Complications from stomach ulcers such as bleeding or perforation are rare. Either of these complications requires urgent medical attention.

Home remedies

Cabbage

Cabbage is a great remedy for a stomach ulcer. Being a lactic acid food, cabbage helps produce an amino acid that stimulates blood flow to the stomach lining. This in turn helps strengthen the stomach lining and heal the ulcer.

Bananas

For stomach ulcer treatment, both ripe and unripe bananas are very effective. There are certain antibacterial compounds in bananas that inhibit the growth of ulcer-causing H. pylori.

Cayenne Pepper

Surprisingly, cayenne pepper is another very effective remedy for treating stomach ulcers. According to a review published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, the compound capsaicin present in cayenne pepper inhibits the secretion of stomach acids, boosts the production of alkali, and stimulates mucus secretions and gastric mucosal blood flow, thereby preventing and healing ulcers.

Coconut

Coconut is very good for people suffering from stomach ulcers because of its antibacterial qualities. It kills the bacteria that cause ulcers. Moreover, coconut milk and coconut water have anti-ulcer properties.

Licorice

Several studies suggest that licorice works effectively for treating and preventing stomach ulcers. It helps the stomach and intestines produce more protective mucus that forms a coating over the stomach lining. This in turn eases the pain from ulcers and speeds up the healing process

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is known for its powerful healing properties and health benefits. You can use it to treat stomach ulcers also. Being rich in a mucilaginous compound, fenugreek protects the stomach’s lining by coating it like mucus, thereby facilitating the process of healing.

Prevention

  • Avoid foods that irritate your stomach. Use common sense: If it upsets your stomach when you eat it, avoid it. Everyone is different, but spicy foods, citrus fruits, and fatty foods are common irritants
  • Stop smoking. Heavy smokers are more likely to develop duodenal ulcers than nonsmokers
  • Practice moderation. Heavy consumption of alcohol and has been shown to contribute to the development of ulcers, so keep your intake to a minimum
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS including aspirin and ibuprofen) with food, as this may decrease your risk of irritating the lining of your stomach
  • Learn how to control your stress levels. Regular exercise and mind-body relaxation techniques (such as guided imagery and yoga or tai chi) are often helpful.

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131 comments

  1. what if you have treat it servally n it still reoccur

  2. BHARATKUMAR PRANLAL JOSHI

    i am suffering 13 years for ULECER COLITIS please effective ayurvedic medicine for this desis

  3. Good to see a specialist stomach ulcer

  4. can i take augmentin for the H.pylori bactaria?

  5. i really love this app, please can i get a home remedy to cure it?
    And is ginger good for it?

    • Yes ginger juice with honey can be used for stomach ulcer. Because ginger as well as honey have antibacterial activity it act against H. pylori and helps to recover from ulcer.
      Please check the post once again for the Home remedies. We have updated it on the post.

  6. Abdullah Muhammad Garba

    how can we prevent a parsons that has ulcer and how we can treat it

  7. Mercedes. Dela Cruz

    im. suppering. pain. in. my. stomach. goes. untill my. 2. breast. ribs together. with. my. back. what. kind. of. illnes. this

  8. please am suffering from peptic ulcer. can I take milk

    • For many years, people with peptic ulcers were told to drink lots of milk and that it would soothe the stomach and help heal the ulcers.
      But, that’s not always true. It might help for a few minutes but milk also stimulates your stomach to produce hydrochloric acid and that can make the ulcers hurt worse. so don’t take much milk and milk products.

  9. what are spicy foods please.

  10. Pls what are the drugs use in healing peptic ulcer.
    ESP antibiotics for curing H. pyroli

    • Antibiotic medications to kill H. pylori.
      Amoxicillin (Amoxil), clarithromycin (Biaxin), metronidazole (Flagyl), tinidazole (Tindamax), tetracycline (Tetracycline HCL) and levofloxacin (Levaquin).

  11. Abdul-Aziz Ibn Sulemana

    Pls as an ulcer patient is it good to take all kind of black tea and coffee drinks.

  12. please I’ve been feeling ulcer for two years now.

    but when ever I eat some kinds of food..

    I will develop serious waist pain for almost a day after bed.

  13. can ulcer cause waist pain?

  14. can habal medicine cure stomach ulcer.?

  15. please what is perforation?

    • Gastrointestinal perforation (GP) occurs when a hole forms all the way through the stomach, large bowel, or small intestine. It can be due to a number of different diseases, including appendicitis and diverticulitis. It can also be the result of trauma, such as a knife wound or gunshot wound.

  16. Please, can I take soya milk in place of milk and can I also take ginger and garlic mixed with honey?

    • Yes you can use soya bean milk. It has been effective in the relief of peptic ulcer pain. Please consult a doctor before having ginger garlic with honey as ginger increases the peptic juice secretions in stomach.

  17. kindly if you would include an update on current antibiotics treatment regime of H.pylori in the article.

  18. Pls i would like to know how long it takes for the pains to go during medications.

  19. best drug for esophageal ulcer a is

  20. Kpirikai Abraham Yendugu

    pls anytime I take in food I feel stomach pains. thats it mean I have stomach ulcer??

  21. Michael Ngaiteh Aruna

    Nice piece, I have most of the symptoms, I do smoke but the other type of cigarette, eat late at night more on carbohydrates. But material is going to be useful especially the preventions

  22. Moses Offiong Your Name

    pls, I have stomach ulcer for long time now, I have try everything ,but no change. I don’t know what to do again.

  23. sir what medicine is good for duodenal ulcer?

  24. what if you start having the early symptoms of stomach ulcers, how can you prevent it

  25. pls is there any other name for triple therapy

  26. Thanks a lot for this information. Hope to see more.

  27. pls can gastric ulcer causes chest pain, back pain, race’s heartbeat and shortness of breath. because after explaining it to my doctor, he suggest that i should take Rabeprazole 20mg, Amoxicillin, azithromycin and Gaviscon

  28. Michael echemudiare

    I have be suffering from ulcer I have tried all the prescription given by medical experts but is keep coming every new month and the pain is too much for me some time I feel like ending my life it always come up from the 2nd day to the 10th da of every month

  29. Good information… Ride on…

  30. Educative and wonderful information. Ride on…..

  31. Good information.

  32. thanks a lot’s I really enjoyed it and I learnt a lot on it.my friend has ulcer but refuse to cure what can I do ??

  33. Darlington Vitus

    I am having ulcer about a year now and I have treated the thing many time but is still disturbing…. and I am also having pains all my body please what can I do again?

  34. drugs and dosages for ulcer patients with bloody stool

  35. Pls i have been suffering for waist pain for the past 6 years now pls i need your advise.

  36. how you will use amoxciln and other medicine to cure h.pylor ?

  37. I have been with this problem for some time at first I was told it was gasses and now it is very painful

  38. I was diagnosed with peptic ulcer, pls which drugs should I take and its doses?

  39. Treatment of stomach ulcer best drugs

  40. I get blood in stool, with lots of pain in stomach and legs….

  41. I have become anemic…because of blood in stool…when I go to the toilet I fell lot of pain in my stomach and thighs….

  42. I started observing this, Just that i didn’t know in time, for over 6months, someone told me that i should drink milk twice a week, early morning, though am following your instructions, plus can milk help?

    • It might help for a few minutes but milk also stimulates your stomach to produce hydrochloric acid and that can make the ulcers hurt worse. You don’t have to avoid milk (a serving or two a day is fine), but drinking more milk won’t help the ulcer heal.

  43. Please sir, i ate since morning, is like the food doesn’t digest, it’s standing on my chest, moving up and down, pains from my spinal cord down, and also my belly is hot sometimes, i don’t really know exactly what to do sir.

  44. Thanks for letting me k

  45. I always us tablat like omesh medicine and I still seeing sum blood in my pheces why?.

  46. Samuel Osei Nyarko

    Your application is very helpful, keep on developing more great applications such as this. thank you.

  47. Please, can starvation or long delay in taking food cause stomach ulcer?
    Apart from Banana and coconut, what fruits are good for ulcer treatment?

  48. pls doc what are the home remedies that u keep on saying, and pls doc can ulcer be cured completely?

  49. can moringa powder and Honey cure ulcer

  50. l have ulcer, don’t know if it’s peptic or stomach. In the last three months to four months now I’ve been having pains in my stomach, while having the pains, I usually feel something shooting out within my stomach, around the navel. The pain is usually serious. I’ve seen a doctor, she said it’s ulcer, and am presently on drugs (Meprasil).
    The Doctor suggested that I do a scan test which I’ve done, and the results says everything is okay. Please I need you to comment on this condition.

  51. I have seen alot of suggestions about medications but not even a single person has suggested praying to our creator to cure the disease,we have to pray first then look for the cure,how many people have we seen on medications and yet they dont recover?

  52. what I do for tounge ulcer & throat ulcer??

  53. Indeed appreciate this beautiful case presentation

  54. Ameyaw Alexander

    please help with peptic ulcer

  55. Wemese khesoh Your Name

    how to cures home remedy stomach ulcer

  56. please what food type ulcer patient should be avoided

  57. Is the intake of look worm water good for stomach ulcer, if yes when and how to use ?

    • It doesn’t matter whether you drink warm water or normal (room temperature) water on an empty stomach as long as the water is fit for consumption. Drinking too much water may harm you as it puts the sudden intense load on your intestines as well as dilutes your blood and also puts too much workload on your kidneys. Do not be in the notion to drink warm water on an empty stomach. The temperature doesn’t matter.

  58. if ulcer is left uncure what are the side effects
    why is it that patient with ulcer find it hard to cure

    • Left untreated, peptic ulcers can result in Internal bleeding. Bleeding can occur as slow blood loss that leads to anemia or as severe blood loss that may require hospitalization or a blood transfusion. Severe blood loss may cause black or bloody vomit or black or bloody stools.

  59. pls can ulcer cause frequent passing of bloody stools and waist pain? bcs over a week now and have been experiencing such, pls doc I need an answer for this issue pls!

  60. really informative thankslot

  61. good afternoon, I have peptic ulcer,and anytime its occurs I will eat banana and drink milk as a water the pains will relief me,or pab mixed with milk and drink it,d pains will relief me as well,and I will stop eating white rice and beans for that period for like a weeks,bcos I don’t like taking oral drugs but I like injection pls sir/ma any injection for peptic ulcer????

  62. is there any difference between, gastric ulcers, stomach ulcers and duodenum ulcers?

    • Gastric and duodenal ulcers are peptic ulcers, which are open sores in the lining of the digestive tract. Gastric ulcers form in the lining of the stomach. Duodenal ulcers develop in the lining of the duodenum, which is the upper part of the small intestine.

  63. Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was 27 and was treated with amoxiciline, tinidazole, cimetidine. But now I have chest pains, heaviness, partial paralysis on my right arms and lips.What do I do now.

    • Generally, ulcerative colitis increases the risk of a heart attack. this is the reason you have experienced chest pain and heaviness. Please consult a cardiologist asap. Also, consult a neurologist to diagnose your paralysis.

  64. AKILU USMAN BICI Your Name

    ulcer has been my problem for long. I was diagnosed with peptic ulcer for long. I tried my best for the treatment but it wasn’t good enough. However, now that I went through your research and laboratory investigation,I am beginning to see improvement. Thanks for the assistance .
    Can you please attach pictures alongside the name of the botanical name of the leaves recommended or advice to be taking for a speedy recovery of the ulcer disease?

    • This site is not providing the results of laboratory or any practical work. It is completely the theoretical knowledge of the diseases. It is better to consult a doctor for an appropriate prescription.

  65. pls what’s the cure for peptic ulcer my mother is having it

    • Usually, treatment will involve killing the H. pylori bacterium, if present, eliminating or reducing the use of NSAIDs, if possible, and helping your ulcer to heal with medication.
      Please consult a doctor to get medications for peptic ulcers.

  66. please doc explain to me very well, can ulcer cause frequent passing of bloody or dack stools, constant chronic headache at the back of my head with hot, high increase in breathing, leg pains, chest and waist pains? my doc said it is ulcer and I have been taking drugs but not responding, pls can ulcer cause all those symptoms I listed up pls?
    thanks as you give me the answer

  67. pls answer me

  68. Please, is stomach ache at night a symptom of ulcer?

    • Stomach and intestinal ulcers can cause a burning sensation in the stomach region. Pain can worsen after eating as well as when the stomach is empty. Nighttime is often the longest stretch of the day between meals. So it might be a symptom of stomach ulcer. please consult a doctor to diagnose the problem.

  69. Agreed that smoking tobacco affects, does smoking weed or marijuana also affect or cause ulcer too? do I stop smoking it or reduce its consumption? Thank you.

    • smoking increases stomach acid production over time, and that it reduces bicarbonate production. Smokers are particularly at risk of developing duodenal ulcers. They can also develop ulcers in the esophagus, the body part that leads to the stomach. Try to stop smoking!

  70. how can I cure ulcer while being pregnant. the pain is too much for me. I have been told to let go of my pregnancy before I can be cured. I don’t want to loose my baby. it’s two months old. please help.

  71. pls what is the right dosage of OMEPRAZOLE for adults and pedeathrics…?

    • Dosage for adults:
      Dual therapy: 40 mg orally once a day, taken concomitantly with clarithromycin
      -Duration of therapy: 14 days
      Triple therapy: 20 mg orally 2 times a day, taken concomitantly with amoxicillin and clarithromycin
      -Duration of therapy: 10 days

      Dosage for pediatrics:
      packet
      2.5mg
      10mg
      suspension
      2 mg/mL
      tablet/capsule
      10mg (generic)
      20mg (OmepraCare DR, generic)
      40mg (generic)
      oral disintegrating tablets
      20mg

  72. I really wish to commend you for this good work of urs for a better and safe Society.

  73. I have benefited greatly from this your research remedy for stomach ulcer. Thanks

  74. Can starvation cease ulcer?

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