An ulcer is an open sore that can develop within your intestinal tract. Within your intestinal tract are your esophagus, stomach, duodenum (upper part of the intestines), and intestines. There are many contributing factors in the development of ulcers, such as the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. It is important to promptly treat an ulcer that develops bleeding in order to prevent complications that can result in internal bleeding, anemia, or even an infection.
Things You'll Need
- Dietary changes
Undergo an endoscopy to stop the bleeding of your ulcer. You'll be given a sedative to help keep you calm during the procedure, as a thin scope will be placed down your throat and guided into the affected area that is the cause of your ulcer. In many instances of a bleeding ulcer, the affected area will be cauterized to stop the bleeding.
Determine if an injection is more suitable. In some endoscopy procedures, a clotting material can be injected directly into your ulcer to help stop the bleeding. Ask your physician which procedure would be more suitable for your condition, and which procedure has a higher likelihood for a reoccurring ulcer.
Don't smoke before your procedure as smoking will constrict your blood vessels. Don't eat for up to eight hours before your endoscopy procedure. Ask your physician if drinking clear fluids is okay before your procedure.
Tell your physician of any medications you're taking in advance of your expected procedure date. Some medications can interact with anesthesia, which could cause possible complications during your procedure.
Medications & Surgery
In conjunction with an endoscopy, take medications such as acid blockers. Acid blockers help to prevent the over-production of stomach acid secretions within your digestive tract.
Take proton pump inhibitors. According to the Mayo Clinic, when you're admitted into the hospital with a bleeding ulcer, you'll need to be given proton pump inhibitors intravenously. Proton pump inhibitors help reduce your chances of developing a bleeding ulcer after treatments.
Ask your physician about sucralfate. This is a type of antacid that can coat your ulcer. As a result, your ulcer is protected against your stomach acids, which allows your ulcer to heal.
Consider taking misoprostol. This medication stops the over-production of stomach acid, and coats the lining of your stomach. Misoprostol is best in those who have a history of ulcers.
In rare instances when a bleeding ulcer perforates (pushes through) your intestinal wall, surgery will be necessary to prevent infections or death. According to Merck, surgery will also be necessary if you've had more than two episodes of a bleeding ulcer.
Tips & Warnings
- If you begin to experience severe fatigue, abdominal pain, blood within your stools, weight loss, and indigestion, seek medical attention to get tested for a bleeding ulcer.
- Get treated as soon as possible when diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer to prevent complications.
- Take medications such as acid blockers to help reduce the development of acid within your intestinal tract.
- Don't smoke, as this can exacerbate your symptoms.
- If you have an ulcer, don't take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, which can lead to the development of a bleeding ulcer.
- Limit your intake of alcohol. Excessive drinking (more than two drinks in day) can irritate your intestinal and stomach linings, which can result in bleeding of an ulcer.
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