How Can I tell if I Have a Stomach Ulcer or Gastritis?
Stomach ulcers or gastritis can cause similar symptoms, however it should be noted first that gastritis often leads to stomach ulcers. In this way, these two conditions are very closely related. Both are most often the result of h. pylori bacteria, tumors, or frequent use of NSAIDs such as aspirin.
The common symptoms of stomach ulcers and gastritis include nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, belching, bloating, loss of appetite, and weight loss. H pylori symptoms are much more vague and often are not noticeable at all.
The signs and symptoms of gastritis and stomach ulcers do vary slightly, but it may be difficult to tell them apart based on symptoms alone unless you are experiencing some uncommon symptoms of each condition.
In general the symptoms of a peptic ulcer that are not usually associated with gastritis are:
Abdominal pain which diminishes after eating since eating can ease the symptoms of some types of ulcers. Waterbrash – a condition in which you experience an overproduction of saliva after regurgitating stomach acids. (This can be further confusing if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease since this is a common symptom of GERD.)
Blood in your stool is a sign of bleeding ulcers. Black stool that has a tarry appearance is an indication that blood has been digested; it may also have an unusual foul odor.
Symptoms of gastric swelling that are not usually associated with peptic ulcer including vomiting clear, green, or yellow substance. You may also vomit blood, but this is also a symptom of stomach ulcers. Eating very little before feeling like you are full and can eat no more, and belching
Pains that wake you up in the middle of the night may be caused by stomach ulcers because stomach acids are actively produced while you sleep.
Since it is so difficult to tell the difference between most symptoms, determining if you have a stomach ulcer or gastritis (or perhaps both) should be left up to a medical professional.
Doctor’s Diagnosis of Stomach Ulcers or Gastritis
Doctor’s can employ a number of tests to determine the cause of your symptoms. There are blood tests, imaging tests, and even breath tests to tell what is causing your discomfort. One of the things a doctor will want to do however is eliminate the possibility of a more serious condition that may be causing the issues.
Because malignant tumors can cause much of the same discomfort caused by these conditions, it is very important to conduct proper testing.
A blood test can reveal the presence of h. pylori or determine if a pregnancy is involved. They can also test liver, kidney, pancreas, and gallbladder processes to make sure pain isn’t caused by organ dysfunction. Urinalysis and stool samples can test for certain chemical makers of stomach ulcers or gastritis.
X-rays, ECG tests, and endoscopy can provide visual illustration of the thickness of the stomach lining and look for abnormalities on the interior of the digestive system. Ulcers can be seen on images produced by a tiny camera during an endoscopic procedure.
In some cases, the doctor may want to retrieve a sample of tissue he or she sees through the endoscopy. A biopsy can test for gastritis, cancer, and other conditions that may be the cause of an abnormal part of the internal lining.
Peptic ulcers are usually pre-diagnosed based on your symptoms and the doctor may choose to try a course of treatment before conducting any tests. The treatment is usually no harmful if it doesn’t work for you, but it does save a lot of time and money if they work. Following a successful treatment of this nature, doctors may simply order a basic test to confirm the initial diagnosis. However, most testing is done if the symptoms are not alleviated by the trial treatment.
Additionally, doctors may suspect that an underlying condition is causing stomach ulcers or gastritis; especially if they confirm that these are issues and treatments don’t seem to work. Many conditions can cause the overproduction of stomach acids and gastritis, so resolving the core problem may help to eliminate further damages and complication.