What Causes Stomach Ulcers Dont Assume Spicy Foods Are To Blame
For decades, spicy foods were blamed for painful stomach ulcers. People doubled over in pain were advised to cut back on fiery foods.
In the 1980s, however, that theory was debunked, as was the thought that stress causes ulcers. Matthew Bechtold, MD, a gastroenterologist at MU Health Care, said the primary causes of ulcers are a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
H. pylori spreads through contaminated food and water or unsanitary conditions. It can cause ulcers by growing in the lining of the stomach, producing inflammation and causing the stomach and intestinal lining to be more easily damaged by stomach acid.
NSAIDs that can lead to ulcers include popular over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. They can irritate the stomachs lining and may interfere with chemicals that help regulate the protective lining.
Ulcers caused by NSAIDs can be prevented by reducing or eliminating use of the drugs. Your doctor may also prescribe a daily medicine, such as Prilosec, Pepcid or Cytotec.
Even though the beliefs about what caused ulcers were disabused more than 30 years ago, Bechtold said to this day many patients dont know that spicy foods are not harmful.
They tend to blame the spicy foods for their issues, he said.
A study on capsaicin the ingredient responsible for spiciness in peppers showed it might even be good for the stomach.
Treatment For A Stomach Ulcer
Special diets are now known to have very little impact on the prevention or treatment of stomach ulcers. Treatment options can include:
- medication including antibiotics, to destroy the H. pylori colony, and drugs to help speed the healing process. Different drugs need to be used in combination some of the side effects can include diarrhoea and rashes. Resistance to some of these antibiotics is becoming more common
- subsequent breath tests used to make sure the H. pylori infection has been treated successfully
- changes to existing medication the doses of arthritis medication, aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medication can be altered slightly to reduce their contributing effects on the stomach ulcer.
- reducing acid tablets are available to reduce the acid content in the gastric juices
- lifestyle modifications including quitting cigarettes, since smoking reduces the natural defences in the stomach and impairs the healing process.
Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers
The most common symptom of any type of peptic ulcer is indigestion. This often manifests as pain or discomfort in the stomach or abdomen, however, indigestion can also lead to heartburn. Many patients have a tendency to treat heartburn with over-the-counter antacids, which do work well for occasional episodes of indigestion or heartburn. However, if a patient is suffering from frequent heartburn, they should consult their healthcare professional for an evaluation. Frequent heartburn can be a symptom of many gastrointestinal disturbances, including ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease . It is important to note that some peptic ulcers may not present with symptoms at all in the beginning, and not all cases of ulcers have indigestion as a symptom.
In most cases of peptic ulcer, however, at some point, the patient will notice a dull or burning pain in the stomach area that does not go away after a few days or a week. This is at the point where its imperative to be evaluated by a physician.
Patients may also describe a feeling of hunger as a symptom. Other possible signs and symptoms of peptic ulcer include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Not eating due to pain
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Does Stress Cause Ulcers
In recent years, stress is the order of the day, and stress dominates discussions across personal, professional and medical forums. Stress is known to trigger various ailments and we have already covered this in an earlier article last month.
A common perception among people is that stress can cause ulcers. We will examine the truth behind these perceptions.
What is an Ulcer?
An ulcer is said to occur when some tissues in the organs of the digestive tract, such as mouth, tongue, oesophagus, stomach and intestines become affected. The affected areas develop a hole, or a sore, or a painful inflammation, and cause bleeding if left untreated.
Types of Ulcers
Starting from the entrance of the digestive canal and moving downstream, ulcers can be divided into 3 types:A.Mouth ulcers: The patient suffers from painful sores on the lips, tongue, inside of the cheeks and gums. Mouth ulcers should not be ignored if they are severe or recurring, as those may be symptoms of mouth cancer.
B.Physical Stress ulcers: These ulcers are found in the upper digestive tract which includes the oesophagus and stomach. As the name indicates, this kind of an ulcer is caused when the person has previously undergone or is currently undergoing severe physical stress due to any of the below reasons.
C.Peptic Ulcers: This is found in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine. While some people list duodenal ulcer as a separate type, most doctors combine it with Peptic ulcers.
Symptoms of Ulcers
How Are Ulcers Treated
Treatment for stress ulcers is similar to that for other stomach and duodenal ulcers. Similar to the use of over-the-counter antacids to help treat occasional heartburn, the first goal of treatment is to lower the acidity of your stomach to allow inflamed tissues to begin healing.
One of the first lines of treatment for stress ulcers are drugs such as proton pump inhibitors or histamine blockers designed to reduce the secretion of stomach acid. These drugs work on different chemical pathways, but both can help reduce the elevated amount of acid in your digestive tract that contributes to the development of ulcers.
Though allowing your body to begin healing itself is part of the course of treatment, it is not the entire picture. Since stress ulcers are typically present in patients who are suffering from other serious illnesses, treating the underlying condition that caused your stress ulcers to appear will be necessary for your body to fully heal.
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How Do I Know If Its Anxiety And Not An Ulcer
Its not uncommon to find yourself concerned that your struggle with stomach pain is not from anxiety or stress at all. For example, you may find yourself concerned that instead of anxiety, what you are really struggling with is an ulcer.
Only a doctor can diagnose whether or not your pain is from an ulcer, but there are some clues. The clearest signal is if you have any blood in your stool or acid burps . Thats often a clear sign of an ulcer. Also, if the pain or discomfort tends to occur after eating and isnt related to a similar condition, GERD , its possible you may have an ulcer.
However, this is complicated by the fact that ulcers can be caused by long-term stress and anxiety, as they stimulate the production of extra stomach acid. This excess acid in the stomach breaks down the gastric or intestinal lining and cause open wounds that may harm your health.
What Is An Ulcer
Many people talk about ulcers as if they were experts, but very few seem to understand what an ulcer actually is.
Youve had countless ulcers throughout your life, but most develop externally. If you graze yourself, for example, you may lose layers of skin, your dermis and even the subcutaneous fat beneath this. The body reacts to this breach by creating an ulcer, or open sore. Eventually as long as the sore is not too big and does not get infected the sore or ulcer will heal itself.
Stomach ulcers are simply internal sores upon the lining of your stomach. This begs the question as you cannot scrape your stomach lining, how do stomach ulcers occur?
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What Tests Diagnose Peptic Ulcers
The most common way a stomach ulcer is diagnosed is through a question-and-answer session between doctor and patient, along with a physical exam. The doctor will likely ask where the stomach pain or indigestion is located, how long the patient has been experiencing it, and other questions related to diagnosing an ulcer. If the doctor believes that a patient has an ulcer, he or she may administer a stool test or a breath test, which looks for H. pylori infection. This way, the doctor can treat the underlying infection, which in turn treats the ulcer.
If bleeding is suspected from a peptic ulcer, the physician will likely order more invasive tests to get a clearer, more thorough diagnosis. A barium enema with X-ray lets the healthcare professional see the lining of the gut via an X-ray. An endoscopy uses an endoscope with a camera attached at the end to see the lining of the gut. The doctor may also take a small biopsy during an endoscopy to give a more thorough diagnosis. In many cases, treatment comes in the form of lifestyle changes along with prescription antacids.
Causes Of Stomach Ulcers
A stomach ulcer can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria is thought to be responsible for around 60 per cent of stomach ulcers and at least 90 per cent of duodenal ulcers.
- Certain medications which include aspirin or clopidogrel, taken regularly to help prevent heart attack or stroke, and drugs for arthritis. Anti-inflammatory medications are thought to cause around two fifths of stomach ulcers.
- Cancer stomach cancer can present as an ulcer, particularly in older people.
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Anxiety Cause Stomach Ulcers
2 Jan 2018 Mouth ulcers may be particularly stressful and cause anxiety due to pain Peptic ulcers can be stressful due to the symptoms they may cause. While both cause sores in the lining of the stomach and the intestines, a typical peptic ulcer sometimes called a stomach ulcer tends Stomach ulcers are usually caused by H. pylori bacteria or non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs .
The first step to addressing mild stomach pain not associated with a medical condition or trauma is to try to identify and avoid the trigger. For example, overeating or eating rich or gas-inducing food can cause heartburn, distended stomach, and abdominal pain, which can be avoided by practicing dietary changes and moderation. Generalized anxiety disorder linked to peptic ulcer … A new finding of a link between an anxiety disorder and peptic ulcer disease lends support to the view that this gastrointestinal disease and anxiety disorder may share a common link. In recent stomach ulcer?
Ask A Doc: What Causes Stomach Ulcers
Dec 16, 2018Cedars-Sinai Staff
Daily psychological stress isn’t clearly the sole cause of ulcers. But it can make symptoms worse.
The holidays can bring goodwill, cheer, andulcers?
Hosting relatives and last-minute shopping can cause stressa rumored culprit of gastric ulcers. And let’s not forget the potential for overindulging in winter cocktails and holiday feasts.
Can all of this holiday cheer lead you to opening antacids instead of presents?
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What Are The Symptoms Of An Ulcer
Most people with peptic ulcers dont experience symptoms, but when they do, the most common ones are:
- Feeling of being excessively full and/or bloated after eating
- Unintentional weight loss
You should see a doctor if symptoms persist or if you experience extreme symptoms of an ulcer.
Can Stress Cause Stomach Issues
Over the short term, stress can causestomachaches, nausea, and diarrhea. In the long term, prolongedstresscan aggravate chronic diseases such asirritable bowelsyndrome and heartburn.
Furthermore, can stress and anxiety cause stomach problems?
People feel the effects of stress and anxietyinmany ways. Anxiety can worsen symptoms ofabdominalcramps and pain and make you literally feel sick toyourstomach. But when is it more than just anupsetstomach? Millions suffer from gastrointestinalproblems,including irritable bowel syndrome.
Likewise, can stress and anxiety cause gas and bloating? People with irritable bowel syndrome arefamiliarwith the bloating, gas, diarrhea andabdominalpain that accompany it. But there is also aconnection toanxiety. When overgrowth of harmful bacteriaoccurs in thesmall intestine, it leads to IBS a gut off-balancetriggersanxiety and stress.
Also asked, can Stomach pain be caused by stress?
Abdominal pain and stress are relatedinmany ways. Having abdominal pain can causestress,especially when it leads to missed school or otheractivities. Butmore often, stress causes abdominal pain, ormakes it worse.These nerves respond to the same stresshormones andneurotransmitters that our brainsdo.
What can anxiety do to your stomach?
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Do Stress Ulcers Go Away
The healing of a stomach ulcer is facilitated by the fact that the cells forming the stomach wall have a high turnover rate, one that is increased in those with ulcers. This makes sense because the cells in this environment are exposed to acids, large muscle movements as the food is churned, different spices, foods of various textures, etcetera. This means cells can ‘wear out’ quickly and need to be replaced. The larger danger occurs when the tissue is ulcerated for so long, that the cells begin to mutate, potentially placing you at a higher risk of developing stomach cancer.
However, if the tissue hasn’t reached a state with mutations, then given enough time and with a reduction in stress, the tissue will eventually return to its pre-ulcerated state.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcer
- The most concerning sign is coughing or vomiting blood as it indicates that the erosion of the stomach wall is quite far along.
- Another sign could include dark stools as a result of blood that has been processed through the digestive tract and is now being excreted in the stool, more formally known as melena.
- Weight loss in extreme cases as the pain affects appetite.
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Can Stress Cause Stomach Pain
Anxiety and stress are closely related. But they are technically different conditions. It is possible to experience a significant amount of stress without experiencing anxiety. Yet the causes of stomach pain from stress are similar. Muscle tension, digestive issues all of these are also caused by stress and may contribute to stomach pain.
Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Stomach Ulcers
There is still some debate over this in the medical community, but there is evidence to suggest chronic stress and anxiety can result in imbalances in hormone levels that can increase the acidity of your stomach. This increase in stomach acid can eventually lead to ulcerations in the lining of your stomach and duodenum.
Stress and anxiety have also been linked to sleep disorders, which can further wear your body down and make it harder for tissues to repair themselves, further wearing away at your stomach lining.
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What Triggers Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers can be caused by a wide variety of triggers. Though your stomach is a naturally acidic environment, the continuous use of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen, chronic psychological stress, and other factors can upset the chemical balance in your stomach and cause an increase in the amount of stomach acid your body produces.
This increase in acidity can cause holes to form in the mucosal lining of your stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine known as the duodenum. One of the most common causes of stomach ulcers is an infection of the H. pylori bacterium, which can cause your stomach to secrete too much acid, eventually wearing holes in the lining of the stomach.
One bit of good news for lovers of spice is that recent research has shown that eating spicy food is not a significant contributor to the formation of ulcers. This is not to say, however, that eating certain foods wont irritate an ulcer that already exists. If you have an ulcer and find that eating hot, spicy foods makes your symptoms worse, it is best to stick to a bland diet.
Symptoms And Treatment Of Stomach Ulcers In Children
Peptic ulcers, also known as stomach ulcers, are less common in children than adults but occur more frequently than one might imagine. According to 2011 research published in the medical journal Ulcers, as many as 8.1% of children in Europe and 17.4%in the United States will experience a peptic ulcer before the age of 18.
While peptic ulcers are closely related to a bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori , they are sometimes secondary to more a serious disease, such as cancer.
Diagnosis in children differs slightly from adults as some tests are less able to deliver reliable results. Uncomplicated cases are usually easily treated with antibiotics and other oral medications.
Unless there is a serious underlying cause, the risk of complications from a peptic ulcer is low and the risk of death even lower .
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What Happens During Exposure To Stress
Your body activates the fight or flight response, more formally known as the sympathetic response. Following exposure to stress, this evolutionary mechanism interprets the stimulus as a threat, something that is putting you in danger. This was useful during times of a hunter-gatherer society when large predators hunted humans.
Epinephrine is released into the blood stream from the adrenal glands and causes an array of rapid changes.
Heart rate increases to circulate blood through the body at a quicker pace, delivering oxygen to the many muscles working hard to fight off or flee the beast. The blood vessels constrict, causing the blood pressure to increase while the airways dilate to allow a greater amount of air to enter the lungs. The pupils become larger to allow more light in while the perception of pain is reduced.
While all of these changes sound extreme, they help us in the moment and are balanced by the parasympathetic response that counteracts all of these processes. The real danger is when the stress becomes chronic and the body has difficulty ‘turning off’.