Affecting about 4% of the global population, peptic ulcer disease is a common and widespread digestive disorder. It’s characterized by the formation of ulcers in the stomach, small intestines or esophagus. Peptic ulcer disease has several underlying causes, one of which is the long-term and excessive use of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin. While taking an occasional NSAID to relieve pain and inflammation generally won’t cause any harm, people who take more than the recommended dosage or take NSAIDs for a long period of time high a high risk of peptic ulcer disease. Over time, NSAIDs damage the protective gastroduodenal mucosa in the stomach, allowing ulcers to form. If you think you may be suffering from peptic ulcer disease, though, there are a few telltale signs for which you should look.
#1) Stomach Pain
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the most common symptom of peptic ulcer disease is stomach pain. This pain typically manifests as a burning sensation originating somewhere in the lower or middle area of your stomach. Some people suffering from peptic ulcer disease experience constant stomach pain, though others may only experience pain on an empty stomach. But if the pain is located around the lower or middle area of your stomach, peptic ulcer disease could be to blame.
#2) Loss of Appetite
Peptic ulcer disease may cause loss of appetite. This symptom is less common than stomach pain, but it can still indicate the presence of a peptic ulcer. When an ulcer forms in your stomach, small intestines or esophagus forms, it will disturb your body’s hunger signals, creating the perception that you are full when you really have an empty stomach. Unfortunately, this can lead to other problems, as your body doesn’t get the nutrients and vitamins it needs to stay healthy. Even if you have a peptic ulcer, you should still try to follow a healthy diet that includes plenty of lean meats, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
#3) Sudden, Unexplained Weight Loss
Many people who suffer from peptic ulcer disease experience sudden, unexplained weight loss. This symptom is largely the result of loss of appetite. As a peptic ulcer tricks your stomach into thinking its full, you’ll eat less food. Eventually, this dietary change can lead to weight loss. Peptic ulcer disease, if left untreated, may cause you to lose anywhere from 5% to 15% of your body weight in just a few months.
Heartburn is another telltale sign of peptic ulcer disease. Although most peptic ulcers form in the stomach or small intestines, some people develop them in their lower esophagus. If a peptic ulcer forms here, it may trigger the production of acid in your stomach. As levels of gastric acid in your stomach increase, some of that acid may rise up into your esophagus where the ulcer is located, resulting in heartburn.
You’ll probably experience spells of nausea if you suffer from peptic ulcer disease. This is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right in your stomach. The ulcer causes changes to your stomach’s chemistry that manifests as nausea. Depending on the severity of your ulcer and how it affects your body, you may vomit as well. Most people who suffer from peptic ulcer disease, however, only experience nausea without vomiting.
It’s not uncommon for peptic ulcer disease sufferers to experience fatigue. This is usually the result of blood loss. As the peptic ulcer bleeds inside your body, you may feel unusually tired and fatigued. Unfortunately, many people assume that something else is causing their fatigue, such as poor sleep or malnutrition. If you experience fatigue along with the other symptoms listed here, though, you should consider getting checked for peptic ulcer disease.
Bloating is telltale sign of peptic ulcer disease. According to WebMD, about 10% of the U.S. adult population experiences bloating on a regular basis. Bloating is often caused by eating fatty foods, especially in excess, though it can also be caused by peptic ulcer disease. An ulcer in your stomach, small intestines or esophagus triggers the production of gastric acid, which in turn leaves you feeling bloated.
Although these are the seven most common symptoms of peptic ulcer disease, there are other, less-common symptoms associated with this digestive disorder as well, including bloody stools, hematemesis, excess saliva production and constipation. Peptic ulcers often heal on their own, but it can take weeks or even months for this to happen. Rather than crossing your fingers and hoping that your peptic ulcer goes away, take matters into your own hands by seeking professional help.
If you suffer from peptic ulcer disease or any other digestive disorder, contact us today. Atlanta Chiro and Wellness offers a variety of integrative health services that can help relieve the symptoms of digestive disorders like peptic ulcer disease.Share