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What Is Ulcer Pain ?

What Is Ulcer Pain ?

Ulcers, also known as peptic ulcers, are sores that can develop in the digestive tract. They commonly occur in the lining of the stomach, esophagus, or the upper part of the small intestine. The first and most common symptom of an ulcer is pain. The causes and treatment options for ulcers are numerous. In most cases, they can be treated without major problems. When left untreated, however, they can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening complications.Pain is the most common symptom of an ulcer. It can be felt anywhere between the breastbone and the navel and may be worse at night or when the stomach is empty. Some patients may experience temporary relief after eating certain foods or taking an acid reducing medication. Other symptoms may include blood in stools or vomit, nausea, and changes in appetite or weight. It is important to see a doctor if any of these symptoms persist or are severe.

Causes of Ulcers

Ulcers are often caused by bacteria, so doctors commonly test for the bacterium H. pylori. This may be done using a blood, breath, or stool test. Doctors may also perform endoscopic tests to examine the interior of the upper digestive system. Ulcers can also be detected by performing a series of X-rays after the patient swallows a liquid called barium that coats the digestive tract and makes ulcers visible.Since many ulcers are caused by bacteria, antibiotics are the most common form of treatment. Patients may also be prescribed medications that lower acid levels to encourage healing and reduce pain. If the ulcers are caused by another factor, different treatments are necessary. Medications that reduce acid production and promote healing are especially common. Patients may also need to stop taking certain medications that can cause stomach bleeding. Other prescription medications may be necessary depending upon the cause of the ulcer and any underlying conditions.

Treating Ulcers

In most cases, ulcers heal with prescription medication and lifestyle changes such as reducing the use of certain pain relievers or stopping smoking. Ulcers are also more likely to heal if the patient limits or avoids alcohol consumption. When left untreated, serious complications such as infection, internal bleeding, or an excessive buildup of scar tissue may occur. These problems can become life-threatening and often require hospitalization and surgical treatment. When traditional treatment fails, doctors may need to perform tests or surgical procedures to determine the cause and treat the ulcer.