Peptic ulcers are open sores that occur when the digestive juices, which are released by your stomach for aiding digestion, damage the inner linings of your stomach as well as your duodenum. Digestive juices are highly acidic, they may affect the mucus wall that protects your stomach and duodenum and lead to open sore formation.
A peptic ulcer can be treated with medications. But first, your healthcare provider will identify the root cause of the ulcer. An ulcer can be a result of a bacterial infection caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or it could be due to the consumption of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAID drugs.
If the H. pylori bacteria is contributing to peptic ulcer, then the healthcare provider will prescribe some medications to kill off those bacteria. Whereas if it is due to NSAIDs, they may either advise you to stop its usage or reduce its dose, which will prevent the sore from worsening and causing any further damage. They will also prescribe some medications that shall speed up the healing of the area affected by the ulcer in your stomach or duodenum.
According to the Mayo Clinic, your healthcare provider might prescribe some medications that are as follows:
Antibiotic medications are prescribed when stomach ulcers are caused due to Helicobacter pylori bacteria. The bacteria infect the inner lining of your stomach and duodenum and contribute to ulcer formation. When the digestive juices come into contact with the ulcer, it produces a burning pain. To fight the infection, your healthcare provider will prescribe a combination of antibiotic medications. The medications kill the bacteria and prevent the infection. It encourages healing and prevents the bacteria from showing up again during the process of ulcer healing.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
These medications Reduce the levels of acid or digestive juices in your stomach and prevent it from getting produced in excessive amounts. They work by performing an action on the cells of your stomach that releases this acid. Your healthcare provider will prescribe a proper dose of these medicines. One must never consume these medications without a prescription, otherwise, an overdose of PPIs can contribute to health complications.
These medications reduce the acid production in your stomach. Acid blockers are also called histamine (H-2) blockers. Stomach acids are nothing but digestive juices that cause the breakdown of food for proper digestion. These acids irritate the sore and give rise to symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and others. But the medication helps in relieving the burning pain sensation felt in the upper digestive tract because of the ulcer. They help in healing the sores and alleviating the pain. Histamine blockers can be bought by prescription or also over the counter.
These drugs help counteract the acids produced in your stomach. They alleviate heartburn and provide relief from indigestion. These medications do not heal stomach ulcers, instead, they are beneficial for neutralizing the stomach acids and providing relief against symptoms of peptic ulcers.
Cytoprotectant agents are prescription drugs that protect the walls of your stomach and duodenum. They form a protective mucosal layer on the inner linings of your stomach and duodenal, and combat ulcers. It does not negate the release of gastric juices or acids, rather, they eliminate the possibility of any damage to the walls of your stomach and duodenum.
Home remedies to treat peptic ulcers
Some foods can be eaten to contribute to the healing of stomach ulcers. They can speed up the treatment. According to the Medical News Today website some foods that can treat ulcers are listed below:
- Probiotics – such as yogurts, fermented foods
- Fruits – such as apples, berries, cherries, oranges, lemons
- Aloe vera
Health risks of peptic ulcers
Peptic ulcers can sometimes get healed on their own, however, one must never ignore the symptoms. Getting the appropriate treatment in time is necessary, which will help you in preventing the risks of major damage. Untreated ulcers can potentiate the risk of the following damage:
Perforation is a hole that forms in the wall of your stomach or digestive tract because of an ulcer. It is a deep injury that splits or ruptures the walls of your stomach and leaves a cavity. It leads to a condition called peritonitis. A peritoneal cavity can make the digestive juices leak out of the digestive tract. Also, due to the cavity formation, the bacteria in your stomach escape and infect other organs.
The ulcer can occur on the blood vessels of the stomach walls. This can lead to the rupturing of the blood vessels, which gives rise to internal bleeding. The blood loss might happen slowly. It increases the risk of developing anemia due to which the person may experience symptoms like heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, breathing problems, fatigue, pale skin, bloody vomit, and passing bloody or dark stools.
Gastric outlet obstruction
Peptic ulcers can lead to intestinal obstruction, which prevents the passing of food through the digestive tract. Ulcers can lead to the narrowing of the intestinal passages, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and constipation.
Gastric ulcers can sometimes contribute to gastric cancer. It occurs when ulcers are developed because of helicobacter pylori bacterial infection.