What are Ulcers?

Ulcer is the term used when a person develops an open sore somewhere on the body. They can appear both internally and externally and develop when a break in the tissue surface fails to heal properly. These sores are also known by other names such as blister, boil, abscess, cyst, gumboil, and carbuncle.

Ulcers tend to affect men more often than women, and they are more likely to occur as a person ages. Many are caused by poor blood circulation or infection.

The most common type of ulcer happens in the stomach or in the small intestine, largely because those organs are constantly subject to corrosive acids that help break down food. Sometimes that acid also creates damage along the mucus lining protecting those areas, and they do not always have the opportunity to heal completely.

Additionally, sores can develop due to the presence of certain bacteria or anti-inflammatory pain relievers.

What are the Symptoms of Ulcers?

Since stomach and intestinal ulcers are the most commonly reported types of sores, patients will often experience:

  • Unexplained stomach pain
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hungry after meals
  • Gassiness
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Bloody stool
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Symptom improvement after eating

Other types of ulcers generally involve pain at the site, blisters, swelling, and redness. Skin ulcers sometimes cause peeling of the outer skin layers.

Ulcers Causes

Leg and foot ulcers are caused by body injuries that fail to heal fast. This slowness in healing of injuries is caused by poor health of a person in a very huge way.

Stomach ulcers, on the other hand, are caused by a helicobacter pylori bacterium and a type of painkiller called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). You can suffer from hyperacidity that originates from inheritance, eating certain foods and smoking. These can result in ulcers.

Alternatively, a mouth ulcer is caused by inflammations from a bowel disease, drastic change in vitamins to your body or reactions to certain levels of acid in foods.

Pressure ulcers or bedsores are caused by blood flow challenges and these challenges can lead to skin pressure, hence creating sores on the skin. Additionally, bedsores have adverse effects such as cancer of the skin and body joint infections.

Sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and herpes can cause genital ulcers that predispose one to other infectious diseases.

Lastly, a cornea ulcer is caused by injuries to the cornea and dryness of the eyelids. Cornea ulcers can result in vision impairment if you do not seek immediate treatment.

How are Ulcers Treated?

Treatment depends largely on where the ulcer is located. Some sores will heal on their own after a little time, but some require medical assistance. If the ulcer is on the skin, for example, keeping the area clean will help it to heal more quickly.

Should it become infected, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Stomach ulcers will usually require medications that help minimize the production of stomach acid. In the case of the presence of bacteria, an antibiotic is also needed.

Ulcers Prevention

The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help prevent ulcers. These drugs are by and large used with foods. They build your stomach lining through reduction of irritation, thus preventing ulcers.

People affected should also suppress strain or pressure to avoid complications with blood circulation that can lead to ulcers.

It’s important for you to avoid stomach upsetting foods since they aid irritation of the stomach lining. An irritated stomach lining can cause ulcers.

Finally, it is imperative for people with smoking and drinking habits to exercise restraint and reduce the levels they consume since excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking increases chances of getting ulcers.

Last Reviewed:
September 14, 2016
Last Updated:
September 10, 2017
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