By Greg Garner

Your stomach receives food after it has been moved through the esophagus by muscular contractions. These wavelike movements push food along, contracting behind the food, relaxing in front of it – in an amazing process called peristalsis. When food drops into the stomach, it is broken down for the proteins by the hydrochloric acid and enzymes produced by the stomach lining. The stomach lining also produces a layer of thick mucus that protects it from the hydrochloric acid. The stomach is also capable of the storing of partially digested food for future processing in the small intestines below it.

Education As A Weapon

Sometimes, however, these digestive enzymes, such as the hydrochloric acid and pepsin will soak areas that are not well protected by mucus. When this happens, a gastric ulcer, also called a peptic ulcer, can occur. The stomach lining, or gastrointestinal mucosa, can become unprotected because of two preliminary mechanisms that are believed to help cause ulcers. One is the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and the other is a bacterium known as H. pylori/ these two can disrupt the stomachs mucus protection process and leave the lining exposed to the acids there. As with most medical ailments, education, as in HIPAA HITECH and other articles are your best protection against illness and disease.

Who Is At Risk

Here are the four main risk factors for ulcer development:

— NSAIDs medications: Dries the mucus coating on the stomach lining

— H. Pylori: bacteria Eats the mucus away on the stomach lining

— Stress: Causes the lack of production of the mucus that lines the stomach

— Smoking: Increases the hydrochloric acid content of the stomach

The Heart Of The Matter


Peptic ulcers cause a unique kind of pain that you will be able to recognize from other stomach problems. It is a dull, achy, yet burning pain that can occur from your midline to the breastbone. It is most often in the very pit of the stomach that these pains occur. They also:

— Start in between meals or come at night. (no one really knows why)

— Cause bloating

— Are accompanied by burping

— Cause vomiting

— Make feel sick to your stomach or nausea

Unique to Ulcers:

— Comes and goes for several weeks, growing in severity

— Antacid helps briefly

— Can last from a minute to several hours

Your Physician

Call a doctor immediately if this happens as it could indicate that the ulcer has eroded through the stomach wall, broken a blood vessel, or the foods that are usually stored for small intestine breakdown are no longer moving from stomach. With an ulcer, this can be dangerous or even fatal. Surgery may be required if:


— You experience the sudden onset of pain that does not go away after a few hours

— Your stool turns black or has blood in it.

— Vomiting what looks like coffee grounds or blood.

Very often, one of these medications may be prescribed that will help to cure a peptic ulcer.

— A proton pump inhibitor, or PPI

— An H2 blocker known as a histamine receptor blocker

— Antibiotic for H. pylori

— A Pepto Bismol type, over the counter medication with bismuth subsalicylate, which will coat the site and protect it from further acid damage


— Smoking

— Alcohol

— Milk

The Temporary Fix Should Be Avoided

Smoking and drinking will not only slow down the healing process; it can make the ulcers much worse. While antacids might make you feel better for a few moments, they inhibit the antibiotics so you should avoid them. Milk, which might also make you feel better for a minute or two, actually promotes the production of stomach acid.

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