What Causes Ulcers? 3 Types of Ulcers That May Trouble You
While the world thought that ulcers were just their stomachs revolting against “stress” or “anxiety” - in 2005, Australians Dr. Barry Marshall along with Robin Warren won a Noble prize for proving that 90% peptic ulcers were caused by an infection! Yes, that’s right, a bacterial infection.
An ulcer is a painful sore that is slow to heal and in some cases reoccurs. How it appears and its corresponding symptoms depend on what caused them in the first place. Here’s a comprehensive list of types of ulcer, the cause, symptoms and quick remedies:
Peptic ulcers: Digestive juices damage the walls and the lining of your stomach, the upper portion of your small intestine, or your oesophagus, ulcerations. This brings on ulcers from Helicobacter pylori (a bacteria) infection. Peptic ulcers are of various types such as gastric ulcers, oesophageal ulcers and duodenal ulcers, but the symptoms are generally the same:
- Bloating or the feeling of being full
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chest pain
Peptic ulcer treatment usually involves antibiotics – antacids just help reduce the symptoms a bit. Although ingestion of probiotics (to help build immunity) and alkaline foods, is highly recommended to help build immunity.
Arterial Ulcers: Arterial (ischemic) ulcers are open sores that primarily develop on the outer side of your ankle, feet, toes, and heels due to the lack of blood flow to the tissue. These forms of ulcers can take months to heal and require proper treatment to prevent further infection and complications.
- Red, yellow, or black sores
- Hairless skin
- Pain in ankle/foot/toe/heel
- Affected area is cool to the touch
These ulcers need to be kept dry and clean, preferably bandaged to avoid infections. Antibiotics and surgical options are the second line of treatment.
Mouth Ulcers: Most mouth ulcers (minor, major, herpetiform) are painful and worsen with consumption of food, drink and poor oral hygiene. The causes are yet unknown, but it is assumed that smoking, injury from biting the tongue or inside of the cheek, braces, poor-fitting dentures, acidity, and hormonal changes may be contributory factors.
- Swollen skin around the sores.
- Problems with chewing or brushing the teeth because of the tenderness.
- Irritation of the sores by salty, spicy or sour foods.
- Loss of appetite.
- In many cases, the pain and discomfort from mouth ulcers will lessen in a few days and then disappear in about 2 weeks with no need for treatment.
Generally, the symptoms reduce with consumption of B-complex but generally it is noticed that there is no sign of improvement with just the prescribed pain killers or antimicrobial mouthwashes.
The good news is that a course of antibiotics can cure most ulcers, while building up on your immunity can help prevent them.