Bleeding Stomach Ulcer
One of the most feared types of peptic ulcers is the bleeding stomach ulcer (a stomach ulcer is common slang for the medical term peptic ulcer). A bleeding stomach ulcer simply indicates that the ulcer has progressed to the point where internal bleeding has occurred.
Bleeding Stomach Ulcer Symptoms
A bleeding peptic ulcer has symptoms which are not unlike stomach ulcer symptoms. These include:
- Burning Stomach Pain
- Bloody Vomit or Stool
Generally, bloody vomit or stool is a sure sign of a bleeding ulcer (or another type of internal bleeding) and warrants a trip to the hospital. Internal bleeding can be a life threatening condition and you do not want to take any unnecessary risks.
What many people do not realize is that a bleeding stomach ulcer can be hard for the laymen to identify because they expect to blood in the vomit or stool to be red. This is rarely the case (except in the movies).
In reality, blood in the stool or vomit usually is very dark red or even black (think of the color of the scab). This is because as blood passes through the digestive tract, it becomes a darker color.
The end result is that bright red blood in stool generally represents bleeding of the colon or rectum, whereas dark colored blood in the stool is more frequently associated with bleeding in the stomach or small intestine.
Causes of a Bleeding Peptic Ulcer
A bleeding stomach ulcer can be caused by one of three things:
- An advanced or large stomach ulcer
- Stomach cancer
While all of these situations are not a good place to be in, an advanced stomach ulcer is the most likely situation and the best case scenario for the patient. If left untreated, this can lead to anemia due to blood loss over time.
Stomach cancer is another cause for bleeding ulcers. It is for this reason that bleeding stomach ulcers need to be thoroughly examined by a qualified doctor.
Perforation is the final cause of a bleeding ulcer. In perforation, the ulcerated portion of the stomach or intestine is completely pierced, allowing blood and body fluids to literally “leak” out of the hole. This is a deadly condition and requires emergency surgery.
For this reason, blood in the stool or vomit concurrent with intense burning stomach pain warrants a trip the hospital. As they say, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Bleeding Stomach Ulcer Treatment
Some bleeding stomach ulcers are generally treated much in the same way as normal ulcers. This includes a test for H pylori and appropriate antibiotics if infection is found. It generally will also necessitate an acid-reducer or buffer to help reduce irritation to the affected area. Iron supplementation may also be used to replace lost blood.
If bleeding is significant, a hospital stay may be required if deemed required. Perforation is treated by emergency surgery to close the wound. Sometimes surgery may be used to repair bleeding peptic ulcer if it is not responsive to treatment or bleeding has become significant.
Bleeding Peptic Ulcer Conclusion
Bleeding stomach ulcers are essentially advanced ulcers which have eroded deep enough to cause bleeding. Depending on the degree of advancement and the root cause, treatment and symptoms may vary.