The information in this paper will attempt to briefly explain gastric ulcers; what they are, the causes, and treatments available to prevent or get rid of them.
What are gastric ulcers? Gastric ulcers are a form of peptic ulcers that are localized in the stomach lining, creating an erosion of the stomach lining, and resulting in abdominal pain, possible bleeding, and other gastrointestinal symptoms (“Gastric,” 2011). Other symptoms that often occur are nausea, abdominal indigestion, vomiting, especially with blood, blood in stool or black stools, unintentional weight loss and fatigue. If experiencing abdominal pain one may wake up at night in severe pain. To relieve the pain it has been suggested to drink a cup of milk or take antacids. The stomach pain may often occur two to three hours after meals and often will get worse if one doesn’t eat (Chen, 2006).
What causes gastric ulcers? Gastric ulcers are caused by an imbalance of stomach acid, an enzyme called pepsin, which means “any of the various digestive enzymes found in gastric juices that catalyze the hydrolysis of protein to peptides” (“Pepsin,” 2007). Some additional risk factors are smoking, increasing age, mechanical ventilation (being put on a breathing machine), and certain blood clotting problems (Chen, 2006). Someone who is at risk for getting ulcers should also use caution when taking aspirin or NSAIDS (Nosteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs) for pain relief.
What about treatments for ulcers? One can take antacids, histamine antagonists (H2 blockers), proton-pump inhibitors (PPI), and sucralfate and misoprostol, to treat and/or eliminate the bacteria helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Antacids neutralize the existing acid in the stomach. Some antacids one can take are Maalox, Mylanta, and Amphojel are safe and effective. H2 blockers are drugs that block the action of gastric cells and reduce the production of acid. PPI’s are very similar to H2 blockers in treating gastric and duodenal ulcers, but the proton-pump inhibitors are important for esophageal ulcer healing. Sucralfate and misoprostol are agents that strengthen the gut’s lining against the digestive juices. While surcralfate promotes healing and coats the surface, misoprostol protects the