First Aid Handbook: Stomach Ulcers

A woman is doubled over in stomach pain
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In the past, it was thought that stomach ulcers were caused by the food we eat or the stress we feel in our lives. It is now known that stomach ulcers are either caused by the bacteria H. pylori or by long term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These cause sores in the stomach lining leaving you in extreme pain and discomfort and in need of help from your Integrity Urgent Care team.

Symptoms

A stomach ulcer can be hard to self-diagnose because the symptoms are so varied from person to person. Some may feel heartburn, burping, acid reflux, or other pain when eating. Others may have nausea, vomiting, or lose the desire to eat altogether. Some may feel bloated or easily full. And still others may have dark stool or anemia like symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for a sustained amount of time, you should contact our medical team to help see if a stomach ulcer or some other issue is the cause. In the meantime, keep a note on your phone with details of when you have the symptoms, what you were doing at the time, and how severe the symptom is.

Treatment

Treatment depends on what is causing the ulcer itself. Some stomach ulcers will get better with antibiotics and medication that blocks stomach acid. Probiotics or other supplements may be beneficial for patients as well. Surgery can be an option for treatment, but only in rare and complicated cases. Even surgery will look different for every patient, depending on what is needed to treat the issue. If stomach bleeding is occurring, some patients may need a blood transfusion.

Prevention

The supplements mentioned above, and a good quality probiotic, can be helpful in preventing stomach ulcers. According to healthline.com, “since people with stomach ulcers may have accompanying acid reflux disease, it is a good idea to stay away from spicy and sour foods while an ulcer is healing.” Because many of the stomach ulcer cases we see are caused by bacteria, it is a good idea to wash your hands frequently and especially before preparing or eating food. Wash your produce thoroughly as well.

When to See a Doctor

If you suspect a stomach ulcer, it is a good idea to go ahead and call our Integrity team to help you. If you are having bleeding or obstruction, you need to come in immediately so we can make sure surgery isn’t needed. Additionally, stomach cancer could be an outcome of some of the most serious cases, so stomach ulcers should not be ignored. If you are feeling weak, short of breath, or have a sharp pain that won’t go away, see a doctor immediately.

To get relief and treatment from a stomach ulcer or some other concern you may have, contact our Integrity Urgent Care Clinics today. We can provide you with the care you need to get well and to return to your day-to-day.

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