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ID: 121
Category: Stomach
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createdon: 31 Jan 2023
updatedon: 04 Apr 2023

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Author: Khoa Tran
Published Jan 31, 2023
Updated Apr 04, 2023

Table of contents

Gastric Ulcers

Etymology and Pronunciation

Gastric (GAS-trik)
gaster - Greek for "stomach"

Ulcers (UHL-sers)
ulcus - Latin for "sore" or "wound"

History of Gastric Ulcers

In the 19th century, it was recognized that gastric ulcers were a distinct medical condition, and various theories were proposed to explain their cause. Some researchers believed that stress or spicy foods were the cause of gastric ulcers, while others believed that the condition was caused by an excess of acid in the stomach.

In the early 20th century, it was discovered that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori played a role in the development of gastric ulcers. However, it wasn't until the 1980s that the link between H. pylori and gastric ulcers was definitively established by Australian scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren.

Marshall and Warren discovered that H. pylori was present in the stomach lining of patients with gastric ulcers and that the bacterium could cause ulcers to form by damaging the stomach lining. This discovery revolutionized the understanding of gastric ulcers and led to the development of more effective treatments, including antibiotics to kill the bacteria and acid-suppressing drugs to help the ulcers heal.

For their discovery, Marshall and Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2005, and their work has had a significant impact on the treatment and prevention of gastric ulcers. Today, gastric ulcers are typically treated with a combination of antibiotics, acid-suppressing drugs, and lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption. The history of gastric ulcers is a testament to the ongoing efforts to understand and treat digestive disorders, and the discovery of H. pylori has had a significant impact on the field of gastroenterology.

Modern Understanding of Gastric Ulcers

Gastric ulcers are sores that develop on the lining of the stomach. They are caused by the erosion of the stomach's protective mucous layer, which exposes the underlying tissue to the corrosive effects of gastric acid. This can result in pain, discomfort, and bleeding in the stomach. Gastric ulcers are a common digestive problem that cause upper abdominal pain, heartburn, acid reflux, nausea, bloating, loss of appetite, weight loss, early satiety, belching, and regurgitation.

The symptoms of gastric ulcers can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include abdominal pain, heartburn, nausea, and bloating. In severe cases, gastric ulcers can lead to complications, such as internal bleeding, anemia, and perforation of the stomach wall.

In severe cases, gastric ulcers can lead to hemorrhage, anemia, vomiting blood, and dark stools. The cause of gastric ulcers is not always clear, but one of the most common causes is infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, alcohol, smoking, and stress can also increase the risk of developing gastric ulcers.

Diagnosis of gastric ulcers is usually made through endoscopy and biopsy. Treatment of gastric ulcers typically involves antibiotics to clear any H. pylori infection and medications to reduce acid production in the stomach, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 blockers. Making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and tobacco, managing stress, and eating a healthy diet, can also help manage gastric ulcers.

Causes of Gastric Ulcers

Gastric ulcers are open sores or lesions that form in the lining of the stomach. They can be caused by several factors, including:

- Helicobacter pylori infection: H. pylori is a bacterium that can infect the lining of the stomach and cause inflammation, leading to the formation of ulcers.
- Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can irritate the stomach lining and increase the risk of developing ulcers.
- Excessive alcohol consumption: Alcohol can irritate the stomach lining and increase the risk of developing ulcers.
- Smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of developing ulcers and can also slow down the healing process.
- Stress: Although stress does not directly cause ulcers, it can increase the risk of developing them by increasing the production of stomach acid.
- Rarely, cancerous and non-cancerous tumors can also cause ulcers.

Treatment for gastric ulcers depends on the underlying cause and may include medications to reduce stomach acid production, antibiotics to treat H. pylori infection, and lifestyle changes such as avoiding NSAIDs and alcohol. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

Treatments for Gastric Ulcers

The treatment for gastric ulcers depends on the underlying cause. Here are some of the treatment options that your doctor may recommend:

- Medications: Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. These may include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), H2 blockers, and antacids. PPIs and H2 blockers work by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces, while antacids neutralize the acid in your stomach.
- Antibiotics: If your gastric ulcer is caused by an H. pylori infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Usually, a combination of two or more antibiotics is used along with a PPI or H2 blocker.
- Lifestyle changes: Your doctor may advise you to make lifestyle changes to help manage your gastric ulcers. These may include avoiding foods that irritate your stomach, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and managing stress.
- Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be required to treat gastric ulcers that are not healing or have caused complications such as bleeding. During the surgery, the doctor will remove the affected tissue and repair any damage to the stomach lining.

Symptoms

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Heartburn
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Acid reflux
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Loss of appetite
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Abdominal pain
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Nausea
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Bloating
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Weight loss

Confirmation Tests

- Blood test
- Urea breath test
- Stool test
- Upper endoscopy

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