Stomach ulcers: An Overview
The painful sores of the stomach lining can make every patient’s life miserable! They are one of the most troublesome realities of the modern-day lifestyle, their prevalence has increased dramatically in recent times. While peptic ulcer diseases i.e. ulcers which affect both the stomach and small intestine, have been prevalent in society for centuries, their incidence is at an all-time high! And yet, there is very little talk about this medical problem (Stomach Ulcer In Pakistan)! What are the causative factors for stomach ulcers? What are the symptoms? Can stomach ulcers be prevented? The answers to these and many other questions form the subject matter of this discussion.
Let us start with the basics, and define what a stomach ulcer is. Well, when the mucus layer that protects our stomach from digestive juices is severely damaged, these juices create sores in the tissue lining of the stomach. These sores are called ulcers, which if left untreated, can lead to further complications as well.
Causes of Stomach Ulcer
When it comes to stomach ulcers, the list of causative factors is quite a short one. Here are the key reasons for the development of stomach ulcers:
- Helicobacter pylori infections
- Using drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen for longer periods
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (rare)
A majority percentage of stomach ulcers are caused by bacterial infections. The prevalence and incidence of peptic ulcers are not known in Pakistan, however, the age-adjusted rate of gastric ulcer patients in this report shows that 0.7 males and 0.3 females/10,000 population of Karachi might be suffering from gastric ulcers.
Stomach Ulcer Symptoms
Now, let us talk about the clues that can lead to the detection & diagnosis of stomach ulcers. The primary symptom of stomach ulcers is a burning pain in the region between a patient’s chest and belly button. The worst bit about this pain is that it can last from one second to several hours. The undefined nature exacerbates matters even further! However, there are certainly other signs and symptoms of stomach ulcers as well:
1- Weight loss
It Is Time To See A Doctor!
Some of you might be wondering, these symptoms are felt in certain other conditions as well. Then when should one worry about stomach ulcers? Well, a combination of the symptoms discussed in the previous section should ring the alarm bells in any case. It is pertinent to mention here that if stomach ulcers are not treated in time, the situation can exacerbate considerably. Certain complications like bleeding, penetration, perforation, and obstruction because of inflamed tissues can pose life-threatening risks. Worst case scenario, a stomach ulcer patient might suffer from stomach cancer that develops as an aftermath of a stomach ulcer.
Diagnosing a Stomach Ulcer
Diagnosing a stomach ulcer in its earliest stages is quite a challenge since this diagnosis depends on the symptoms and severity of the ulcer directly. However, reviewing a patient’s medical history can give a doctor plenty of clues as to whether or not a patient is suffering from a stomach ulcer. As for the testing, well there are plenty of tests that are prescribed and performed to establish the ulcer. These include H. Pylori infection, endoscopy, and endoscopy biopsy. The most commonly recommended test however is the barium swallow test, which allows a doctor to monitor the stomach and small intestine clearly on the X-ray. To undergo this test, a patient has to drink barium liquid that improves visibility considerably.
As the cliché statement goes, prevention is better than treatment. At least the coronavirus pandemic has taught us so! So, how can you prevent the risk of a stomach ulcer? There are plenty of preventive steps that you can take in this regard. For example, to reduce the risk of infections by bacteria that are involved in causing ulcers, washing your hands before and after a meal with soap is highly recommended. Also, one has to keep a check on the NSAIDs they are popping. Yes, we are talking about aspirin! Too much of these meds are more likely to do you harm than any good!
Stomach Ulcer Treatment
The treatment of stomach ulcers is split into two categories i.e. surgical and non-surgical. During the surgical treatment, either the entire ulcer is removed or it is patched up by suing tissues from the patient’s intestines. On the other hand, the non-surgical treatment of ulcers involves reliance on antibiotics and PPI. PPI stands for proton pump inhibitors and can block stomach cells involved in the production of gastric juices. Other non-surgical treatments include H-2receptor blockers and the addition of probiotics in your diet.
In counties like Pakistan, the treatment of stomach ulcers can cost a patient some fortune. However, these patients have some hope, courtesy of organizations like Transparent Hands.
Let us familiarize you a bit with this organization’s doings in the concluding remarks of this discussion. When it comes to crowdfunding for health, there is no platform bigger than Transparent Hands in Pakistan. The range of healthcare services offered by Transparent Hands is astoundingly vast. From medical and surgical treatments to medical camps and telehealth facilities, the NGO makes sure that the underprivileged Pakistanis have access to quality healthcare services. The NGO believes in creating a patient-donor bond while making sure that the protocols of transparency aren’t breached at any point. The NGO realizes the need for free medical camps in the rural areas, hence it actively sets up such camps as well. To donate, donors can log in to the Transparent Hands crowdfunding web portal from anywhere in the world. Payment modes are one hundred percent secure. Every donor has absolute freedom in selecting and funding patients of their choice. The NGO makes sure that regular updates until complete recovery are sent to the concerned donor.
Summary – Stomach Ulcer In Pakistan
That would be all from this discussion. An ulcer can make a patient’s life miserable, which is why adopting every preventive measure first and then trying all the treatment options available is imperative. Of course, there are certain subtopics that we just couldn’t fit in this limited space. We wish we could have gone on a bit more, but the limitations of time and space force us to wrap up this discussion here. Still, we are quite hopeful that you learned plenty of new facts about ulcers, and it is on this optimistic note that we bid you farewell from this discussion.