Growing up, as a kid in a Nigerian home, you have probably heard your mom shout out, “Come and eat, oh, before you give yourself an ulcer.” This statement alone made many believe hunger is the sole cause of ulcers. However, hunger is not the cause of ulcers.
Various factors can cause stomach ulcers, and although being hungry can aggravate pre-existing conditions of ulcers, it is not the sole cause. With that being said, we have put together a few things to note about ulcers.
Here is everything you need to know about ulcers;
What is an ulcer?
A stomach ulcer, also known as peptic ulcer by medical professionals, is a sore that forms on the lining of the oesophagus, stomach, or small intestine.
Types of stomach ulcers
- Gastric ulcers are ulcers that form within the stomach.
- Oesophageal ulcers are ulcers that form within the oesophagus.
- Duodenal ulcers form in the upper section of the small intestine, known as the duodenum.
What causes ulcers?
Ulcers can be caused by the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. However, not everyone infected with H. pylori will develop an ulcer. Certain medications, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can cause ulcers. Spicy foods, stress, smoking, and alcohol can, however, cause your ulcer pain to be worse.
The most common symptom of ulcers is abdominal pain that feels burning or gnawing. This pain can occur immediately after gastric ulcers and two to three hours after eating or at night for duodenal ulcers. Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Vomiting, occasionally with blood
- Dark, tar-coloured stools
- Unintentional weight loss
Ulcers may not cause any symptoms in some cases. This is especially common in the elderly.
How to manage ulcer symptoms
If you have an ulcer, there are certain things and foods you should avoid or limit to help you manage your symptoms rather than aggravate them. Here is what to do;
- Limit foods and beverages that aggravate your ulcer symptoms. Spicy foods made with chillies, cayenne pepper, and black or hot pepper are examples of this.
- Consume alcohol in moderation. Alcohol increases stomach acid and may interfere with some ulcer-treatment medications.
- If you experience pain or other symptoms after drinking coffee, limit your caffeine intake to no more than 400mg daily (about 3 cups of brewed coffee).
Suppose you begin to notice stomach ulcer symptoms. In that case, it is advisable to see a doctor immediately, get a proper diagnosis, and get treated rather than let it escalate into something much more. For more inquiries, speak to a doctor HERE.