Did you know that stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, can develop as open sores on the lining of your stomach? While they are usually common and treatable, it’s important to take them seriously.
Stomach ulcers are typically irritations caused by stomach acid, and some people may notice the irritation more after they eat, while others may notice it more on an empty stomach. Certain irritants, such as smoking and alcohol, can make ulcer symptoms worse and make them more difficult to heal.
In addition to stomach ulcers, you can also get ulcers in your duodenum, which is a part of your small intestine that your stomach feeds into. This type of ulcer is known as a duodenal ulcer.
In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about ulcers and address the common concern of whether or not they can cause back pain.
Causes of Stomach Ulcer
Ulcers can be a result of damage to the layer that protects the lining of your stomach from gastric acid. This damage can be caused by a variety of factors, including a bacterial infection, long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and stress. Below are the different causes of ulcer:
- An infection with Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria
H. pylori is a bacterial infection that is widespread, affecting a lot of the global population. The bacteria is mainly located in the stomach, and while it doesn’t seem to create issues for some people, others may develop an overgrowth of H. pylori that can lead to chronic inflammation and peptic ulcer disease.
The bacteria multiply and eat into the stomach lining, causing damage over time, which lead to peptic ulcers.
- Taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDs) for a long period
NSAID stands for “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.” These types of medication, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, are often available over-the-counter and used for pain relief. NSAIDs can lead to ulcers in various ways, including irritation of the stomach lining upon contact and suppression of certain chemicals that protect and repair the mucous lining.
Symptoms of Ulcer
One of the most prevalent symptoms of an ulcer is a burning sensation or discomfort in the abdominal area. Typically, the pain is felt in the upper abdomen, between the chest and the belly button. It may be more noticeable when the stomach is empty or at nighttime, but it can be relieved temporarily by eating or taking antacids.
Less common symptoms of a stomach ulcer can include:
- loss of appetite
- feeling and being sick
- weight loss
- Bloated stomach
If your symptoms get too severe, quickly reach out to a medical professional for treatment.
Can Ulcers cause Back pain?
It’s important to note that while abdominal pain is the primary symptom of ulcers, some people may also experience back pain alongside their other symptoms.
However, it’s worth mentioning that back pain is not a typical or classic symptom of ulcers. The back pain is usually caused by other factors that may or not be related to the stomach ulcer.
Below are some indirect causes of back pain in Ulcer patients;
1. Changes of Posture
Many individuals who experience intense abdominal pain as a result of ulcers may find themselves shifting their posture in search of a more comfortable position, but this can only exacerbate the issue by placing additional strain on the muscles of the back.
As a result, it’s important to seek out effective treatments for ulcers as soon as possible in order to minimize the risk of long-term complications and discomfort.
Suffering from severe ulcers can be an incredibly stressful experience, and the resulting tension can easily become chronic, leading to a wide range of problems including back pain and discomfort.
3. Medication Side Effects
Back pain can sometimes occur as a side effect of certain medications that are prescribed to treat ulcers. This is a rare occurrence, but it’s important to be aware of the possibility. Musculoskeletal pain can be a symptom of such side effects, and it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider if you experience any discomfort while taking ulcer medications.
How to prevent stomach ulcer
- Reduce intake of NSAIDs like ibuprofen, and aspirin
- Reduce habits that may increase the production of stomach acids e.g. smoking and alcohol use.
- Lastly, it’s always a good idea to schedule regular medical check-ups to maintain your health. One specific test your doctor may recommend is the H. pylori breath test to determine if there is an overgrowth of bacteria in your system.
How to treat stomach ulcers
To treat stomach ulcers, you have to know the cause. Below are the different ways to treat ulcers;
- One of the most common treatments for H. pylori, a bacterium that can cause ulcers, is a combination of antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe several antibiotics to kill the bacterium, including amoxicillin (brand name Amoxil), clarithromycin (brand name Biaxin), metronidazole (brand name Flagyl), tinidazole (brand name Tindamax), tetracycline, and levofloxacin. It’s important to take these antibiotics as directed by your doctor and to be aware of any potential side effects that may occur.
- In addition to antibiotics, your healthcare provider might also prescribe medications that can help block acid production and promote healing. It’s possible that these drugs will require a prescription, but there are also over-the-counter options available like omeprazole, lansoprazole, and esomeprazole.
- As part of your treatment plan, your healthcare provider may recommend an antacid to help neutralize the acid in your stomach and provide fast relief from discomfort. This medication can be a valuable addition to your drug regimen and may help you feel better quickly.
- Your healthcare provider may suggest cytoprotective agents as part of your treatment plan. These medications are designed to safeguard the tissues that line your stomach and small intestine. It’s important to follow your doctor’s guidance closely and report any unusual symptoms or side effects.