Ulcer: symptoms, causes and diet to protect the stomach

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Carlos Laforet Coll
@carloslaforetcoll

What are the symptoms of an ulcer? And how to protect your stomach? Let's see together the causes and what to avoid at the table.

Don't store avocado like this: it's dangerous

With ulcer (generally in full "peptic ulcer") Means a lexion of the gastric mucosa, which could even perforate itself. The ulcer is mostly caused byerosive action of acidic gastric juices and it can manifest itself in a simple form, but also be aggravated by certain complications, such as perforations or occlusions. What are the symptoms of an ulcer? And how protect your stomach?





THEulcer it is rare in young people and becomes common with aging. It can appear around the age of 50/60 and men are much more affected, with a ratio of 3: 1 to women (Source: Inran)

Often, at first glance, one is led to confuse the stomach ulcer with gastritis, which however is only an inflammation (which however over the years and if not treated can become an ulcer).

Index

What is ulcer

The ulcer is a 'more or less deep erosion of the inner lining of the stomach, the so-called gastric mucosa. It is characterized by a wound of oval shape which reaches deep and which, in some cases, can perforate the mucosa itself.

The depth of the wound varies and can either slightly exceed the muscularis mucosae or exceed it, causing a perforation in the peritoneum or even in neighboring organs, such as the liver and pancreas.

What technically causes the ulcer

The ulcer is caused by the erosive action of acidic gastric juices. These are produced by the stomach and play an important role in digesting food and "fighting" pathogens that enter the digestive tract. These acids are very corrosive whereby, thanks to specific cells, the stomach produces one mucus layer and other substances useful to protect the mucosa. If there is an external factor, which alters this barrier or increases gastric acidity, ulcer may develop.

Typically, the ulcer is divided into:

  • gastric ulcer, which affects the stomach
  • duodenal ulcer, which is a form of peptic ulcer that develops in the duodenum, the upper part of the small intestine, and may be associated with increased stomach acid secretion favored by several genetics
  • esophageal ulcer, which affects the lower esophagus and is often associated with chronic gastroesophageal reflux

La more frequent localization of the ulcer, in short, is at the gastric and duodenal levels, while it can also appear in theesophagus in cases of acid or alkaline reflux from the stomach to the esophagus itself, in jejunum, after surgery that has removed the lower half of the stomach and duodenum, in Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, or due to the presence of gastric mucosa when it is not you should find it.



Ulcer, what causes?

What is it then that triggers an ulcer? On a physiological level it happens that thehydrochloric acid found in gastric juices corrodes the stomach walls. Under normal conditions, our stomach resists well thanks to the gastric mucosa which forms a barrier. However, lesions may appear, but cellular regrowth is very rapid indeed.

Helicobacter pylori infection appears to be the most common cause of peptic ulcers, but it is not the only one.

There are also contributing to the formation of an ulcer:

  • stress, when we say every now and then "it gives me an ulcer" are not words thrown to chance. Stress and nervousness are factors that can contribute to the onset of the disorder and make it worse
  • regular use of analgesics, in this thing it is the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that irritate or inflame the mucous membrane of the stomach and small intestine. To avoid trouble, it is always good to take them during or after meals
  • smoking, nicotine increases the volume and concentration of gastric acids and, consequently, the risk of ulcer
  • alcohol abuse, which can promote corrosion of the gastric mucosa and increase the amount of gastric juice that is produced by the stomach

Stomach ulcer can also be caused by some genetic causes, as for those who suffer from Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, while a higher incidence of the disease is found in blood group 0 subjects. Then there are other risk factors such as very fat diets o eating disorders in general o excessive consumption of caffeine.

READ also: DIET OF THE BLOOD GROUP: HOW IT WORKS, EXAMPLES, WHAT TO EAT AND CONTRAINDICATIONS



Ulcer, symptoms

Some ulcer patients do not have any symptoms but, nevertheless, the most common symptom of peptic ulcer is heartburn and pain below the breastbone (which can reach up to the navel) of variable intensity, which generally occurs within the first 30 minutes after a meal.

Pain generally:

  • it lasts from a few minutes to several hours
  • worse on an empty stomach
  • it rages at night
  • if followed by acute symptoms (severe pain, hard abdomen, nausea, vomiting, sweating, tachycardia, weak pulse) should lead to suspicion of ulcer perforation in the peritoneum

Other symptoms, although less frequent, are:

  • weight loss
  • vomit with traces of blood
  • blood in your stools or black or tarry stools
  • nausea
  • iron deficiency

In all these cases, it is good not to delay talking to your doctor, also because there can be complications, such as:

  • internal bleeding
  • perforation, which can in turn cause peritonitis and sepsis
  • scarring, which could obstruct the passage of food into the digestive tract

READ also: ANEMIA: 10 SYMPTOMS NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE

Ulcer treatment and diet

In case of ulcer, the traditional therapy involves the use of antibiotics, anti-ulcer drugs (the so-called anti-H2 antihistamines), antacids, proton pump inhibitors and cytoprotective agents.

Being the H. pylori the first cause of ulcer, doctors will often tend to resolve this infection, while if there is no trace of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach, the doctor will probably try to decrease the acidity levels, using anti-ulcer medicines, antacids or inhibitors of proton pump.

As with H. pylori, therefore, one should also be considered with an ulcer diet regularly, plan meals so your stomach doesn't go empty for long, and eat small meals throughout the day. It is also good don't skip meals, because the stomach would be prone to secrete acids that cannot be absorbed in the absence of food, and chew slowly.

- fatty foods, coffee, alcohol and chocolate tend to cause gastric juices to flow back, while foods that are too hot or too cold and salty foods tend to create an excess of gastric secretion. Finally, remember god to cook with light cooking methods (steam, in a pan with short cooking, grill).

READ also: ULCER: 10 NATURAL REMEDIES AND FOODS TO PROTECT THE STOMACH

On stomach diseases, you may also be interested in:

  • GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS AND NATURAL REMEDIES
  • GASTRITIS: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, REMEDIES AND EVERYTHING TO KNOW
  • HEALTH: THE 5 SPIES OF OUR BODY
  • IATAL HERNIA: SYMPTOMS, CAUSES AND MOST EFFECTIVE REMEDIES

Among the allowed foods are:

  • low-fat milk
  • low-fat yogurt
  • white meat
  • lean fish
  • vegetables and fruit

Instead, they should be avoided:

  • fatty meats
  • oily fish
  • canned goods
  • sodas
  • alcohol
  • coffee
  • tea
  • fried foods

Germana Carillo

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