That burning stomach pain is called stomach ulcer. It occurs as a result of holes or breaks in the protective lining of the upper part of the small intestine or the stomach areas that come into contact with stomach acids and enzymes.
They can be caused by smoking, frequent use of steroids (such as those for treating asthma), overproduction of calcium (hypercalcemia), family history of stomach ulcers, old age, excessive consumption of alcohol, long term use of some drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin, bacterial infection and some diseases.
Symptoms of ulcer may include; dull pain in the stomach, weight loss, not wanting to eat because of pain, nausea or vomiting, bloating, burping or acid reflux, heartburn (burning sensation in the chest), pain that may improve when you eat, drink, or take antacids.
It can be prevented by;
- Washing your hands with soap and water regularly to prevent bacterial infection
- Limit the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Avoid use of tobacco products.
- Manage stress properly and seek medical help early.
Ulcer is diagnosed by reviewing your medical history review your medical history and symptoms. Some tests such as blood, stool, or breath test, barium enema, endoscopy, endoscopic biopsy may be ordered.
The treatment for ulcer varies depending on the cause. Most ulcers are usually treated with a doctor’s prescription. However, surgery may be required in rare cases.
Compiled by: Victoria Haruna, BSc. (Biochem), MPH (Health Promotion and education)
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