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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

20 Million Americans Suffer From Stomach Ulcers

Woman with stomach ulcer

Q. What is a stomach ulcer?
A. A stomach ulcer is a painful sore in the lining of the stomach or first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum.

Q. What are the symptoms of a stomach ulcer?
A. Stomach ulcers can cause pain or burning in the stomach, mostly at night or between meals when the stomach is empty. Symptoms can also include nausea and vomiting, blood in the stool or vomit, severe pain and weight loss.

Q. What causes stomach ulcers?
A. Most people think that stress causes stomach ulcers. However, research shows that ulcers are actually caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. Ulcers can also be caused by taking too much non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as ibuprofen.

Q. How are ulcers treated?
A. After performing a test called an endoscopy in which a small tube is inserted into the throat and down into the stomach, a physician is able to determine the presence of an ulcer. The doctor may begin with medication that blocks the acid, or may also prescribe antibiotics.

Q. Do I need to avoid certain foods?
A. Yes. Some types of foods will aggravate the symptoms of stomach ulcers. Foods to avoid include alcohol; caffeine; spicy foods; carbonated beverages like sodas; food with refined flour such as white bread, white rice, white pasta and snack foods; red meat; and foods high in trans fat, such as cake, cookies, donuts, fried foods and processed foods like hot dogs.

Q. Will drinking milk help my ulcer?
A. No. Many people think that if they coat the stomach with milk, it will bring them relief. That may occur for a short time, but the milk will then begin to stimulate the stomach to produce more acid and digestive juices.

Q. Did I do anything to cause my ulcer?
A. Aside from using too much ibuprofen, you probably did nothing to encourage an ulcer. Doctors do not really know what causes them. Research has shown, however, that those with an increased likelihood of getting ulcers are those over the age of 50, people who drink alcohol regularly, and people who have other illness such as liver, kidney, or lung disease.

DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.