Peptic ulcers come in a number of different forms based on the location of the ulcer – a gastric ulcer in the stomach or a duodenal ulcer in the duodenum (first part of the small intestine).
These ulcers may be caused by bacteria, ongoing use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or tumours on the acid producing cells of the stomach .
1. The Main Symptom of Peptic Ulcers is Pain
The primary symptom associated with peptic ulcers is pain in the abdominal region between the navel and the breastbone. It will often be worse when the stomach is empty or at night and may be relieved by eating certain foods and may also be irregular, occurring for a few days and then disappearing . If you notice a sudden increase in the pain or in its sharpness then you should contact a medical practitioner as soon as possible.
2. Changes in Appetite
Another early symptom is changes in your appetite, one might feel full and not be able to drink as much as usual or one could experience hunger a few hours after eating.
3. Weight Loss
These changes in appetite can lead to weight loss if you eat less due to loss of appetite and the pain associated with eating.
4. Nausea and Vomiting
Imbalances in the gastric juices can also lead to nausea and vomiting. Vomiting blood is an indication of a late phase peptic ulcer and you should seek medical assistance immediately if this happens.
5. Stool Discoloration
Another late stage symptom of peptic ulcers is a discoloured stool which may appear darker or you may notice blood in the stool. This could be from a bleeding peptic ulcer and again it is recommended that you seek medical advice immediately.
If you suspect that you have a peptic ulcer you should speak to your medical practitioner as soon as possible but there are also a number of things you can do to both prevent and treat peptic ulcers:
#1 – Watch Your Diet
Eat a diet high in good quality fibre, such as from fruit and vegetables, and foods containing flavonoids (apples, celery, cranberries, etc.) to fight against the H Pylori bacteria which can cause peptic ulcers .
#2 – Stop Smoking and Don’t Abuse Alcohol
Both smoking and alcohol can aggravate peptic ulcers and lead to a number of other diseases. In other words, if you smoke there is good reason to stop and don’t abuse alcohol either.
#3 – Reduce Stress
Stress can make you more susceptible to factors which cause peptic ulcers – such as the damage from NSAIDS and the H Pylori bacteria. In order to minimize your risk of these causes, work on reducing your stress levels with regular relaxation.