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3 things that can put you at risk of stomach ulcers

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3 things that can put you at risk of stomach ulcers

Peptic ulcers, often referred to as stomach ulcers, are open sores that form in the lining of the digestive tract. These sores usually appear in the upper portion of the small intestine (duodenal ulcers) or the stomach (gastric ulcers).

There are three types of peptic ulcers, such as:
Gastric ulcer: A gastric ulcer is a wound that occurs in the stomach lining.
Duodenal ulcer: An ulcer that appears in the upper portion of the intestine.
Esophageal ulcer: A sore that develops in the lining of your oesophagus-the tube that transports food and liquids from the throat to the stomach-is known as an esophageal ulcer.
These ulcers can cause significant discomfort and complications if left untreated. Key factors that can put anyone at risk of developing stomach ulcers and discuss preventative measures to mitigate these risks.
1. Bacterial infection with H. pylori:
Peptic ulcers are frequently caused by the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. An H. pylori infection may damage the lining of the digestive tract, which raises the chance of ulcer formation even though symptoms aren’t always present. This bacterium is frequently picked up in children and, if left untreated, can last for years.
2. Usage of NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are examples of NSAIDs that can irritate the stomach lining over time and increase the risk of ulceration. NSAIDs function by preventing the synthesis of chemicals known as prostaglandins, which aid in shielding the stomach lining from harm brought on by stomach acid.
3. Alcohol consumption and smoking: Because alcohol irritates the stomach lining, the mucosal barrier that protects it is weakened, and stomach acid production rises. Abuse of alcohol for an extended period can cause inflammation and damage to the stomach lining, increasing the risk of ulcer growth. However, there might not be much risk related to regular alcohol use; severe or excessive drinking can increase the risk of developing stomach ulcers. Smoking is a well-established risk factor for various gastrointestinal disorders, including stomach ulcers. Also, smoking increases the risk of ulcer formation by contributing to the overproduction of stomach acid. Smoking also reduces the blood supply to the stomach, which makes it even less capable of healing ulcer-related damage.

It is necessary to understand the causes of stomach ulcers to avoid and cure them. People can prevent painful ulcers from occurring by proactively protecting their digestive health, reducing risk factors, and leading a healthy lifestyle.

(The author, Dr. Mangesh Borkar, is a Consultant – Medical Gastroenterologist, at Manipal Hospital, in Kharadi, Pune.)
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