Is it an Ulcer? Symptoms to Watch For

If you’re worried your high-speed, high-stress, fast food lifestyle may be giving you an ulcer, how can you know for sure? Ulcers affect the inside lining of our digestive tracts, causing persistent, burning and downright distressing pain. But while there are several different types of ulcers, contrary to popular belief, none of them are caused by stress or spicy foods — so you can’t blame this one on your boss or your questionable diet! What exactly does bring on an ulcer? The answer may surprise you…

Know Your Enemy

Doctors believe that most ulcers are actually the result of a bacterial infection, or are one of the side-effects of taking certain medications. Peptic ulcers are basically open sores found in various parts of the body’s digestive tract, and they’re all related to the enzyme known as pepsin. As the stomach’s main digestive weapon, pepsin is largely responsible for breaking down the protein found in the foods we eat. But sometimes this highly acidic weapon falls into the hands of the enemy, and causes us to experience the most common of all ulcer symptoms: abdominal pain.

Anetlanda / Shutterstock.com
Anetlanda / Shutterstock.com

 

With three main areas exposed to digestive acid on a regular basis, there are three types of ulcers we can fall victim to.

Esophageal Ulcer

Esophageal ulcers attack the tube (the esophagus) that transports food from our mouths to our stomachs when we swallow. They’re usually associated with long-term acid reflux, where the esophagus is constantly exposed to stomach acid during that classic case of heartburn that never seems to go away.

9nong / Shutterstock.com
9nong / Shutterstock.com

Gastric Ulcer

A gastric ulcer is the abscess that most of us think of when we hear the word “ulcer.” Also known as stomach ulcers, gastric ulcers occur in the lining of – you guessed it – the stomach.

file404 / Shutterstock.com
file404 / Shutterstock.com
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