Thursday, November 9, 2023

Stomach Ulcers: What Are They?

 Stomach ulcers, also known as peptic ulcers, are sores that develop in the lining of the stomach or duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. They are caused by the erosion of the protective mucus layer that normally protects the digestive tract from stomach acid.

Will Ulcers Show Up in a Blood Test?

No, stomach ulcers typically do not show up in a blood test. However, there are other tests that can be used to diagnose ulcers, such as:

  • Stomach endoscopy:  This procedure involves inserting a thin,  flexible tube with a camera into the stomach to visualize the lining and look for ulcers.
  • Breath test:  This test involves swallowing a substance that is absorbed by bacteria that live in the stomach.  If the bacteria are producing too much acid,  they will break down the substance and release a gas that can be detected in the breath.
  • Endoscopy capsule:  This small capsule contains a camera that is swallowed and passes through the digestive tract,  taking pictures along the way.  The pictures can be used to identify ulcers.

How Are Stomach Ulcers Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of stomach ulcers typically begins with a thorough medical history and physical examination. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, risk factors, and medical history. They will also perform a physical exam to check for signs of ulcers, such as abdominal tenderness or bloating.

If your doctor suspects that you have a stomach ulcer, they will order one or more of the tests described above to confirm the diagnosis.

Symptoms Indicating Stomach Ulcers

The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain in the upper abdomen. The pain may be worse when you eat or drink, especially acidic foods or beverages. Other symptoms of stomach ulcers may include:

  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Dark or bloody stools

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment.

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