Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a bleeding ulcer can be a life saving gift. You may be completely unaware you even have an ulcer because you are not experiencing any ulcer related pains. For most ulcer sufferers, this may seem like a painless and easy situation to be in. But in fact, it is a potentially lethal problem!
When an ulcer starts bleeding, your blood neutralizes the stomach acid around the area of the ulcer, when this happens the neutralized stomach acid will not 'burn' the raw areas around the ulcer. Basically this means that you will not feel any pain. And this can present some major problems.
If you do not experience stomach pain, then this may lead you to think that your ulcer may have healed. In reality, the opposite may be true. Your ulcer may have got worse, and it could be bleeding so badly that you are not experiencing any pain, due to the reason explained above.
This is why it is so important for you to recognize and look for the symptoms of a bleeding ulcer, as discussed further down on this page.
You may experience occasional painless bleeding episodes and anemia, and these are signs that are easily written off to other possible causes. You may also suffer from dizzy spells caused by loss of blood, but you could blame the dizziness on stress or maybe even lack of sleep - look out for these signs, because they could spell trouble!
'Stomach ulcers usually cause pain when they are exposed to gastric acid...but when an ulcer starts bleeding, your blood will lessen the effect of your stomach acids, and mask any pain you would normally feel.'
About 1 in every 10 people with bleeding ulcers don't have any associated pain. If you happen to be that 1 person then you need to take extra careful note of other the signs that are much easier to notice.
If any of the following symptoms of a bleeding ulcer present themselves, we urge you to move swiftly towards getting treatment, and make sure you tell your doctor about all the symptoms you have.
REMEMBER if you have been diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer or even if you have the slightest suspicion that you are bleeding from an ulcer, please do not hesitate to get emergency treatment away!
As an ulcer grows it can start eroding into the muscles of the stomach or duodenal wall. On its path of destruction, blood vessels can be damaged with the result that they start bleeding.
If the damaged blood vessels are small, then the flow of blood is slow and it will usually find its way into your digestive tract. However, if the damaged blood vessel is large, bleeding is fast and very dangerous.
If an ulcer happens to wear all the way through your stomach's lining, and then into a large blood vessel, you will probably require blood transfusions and emergency surgery.
The risk of re-bleeding with active spurting is around 95%. There is a 40% risk if a blood vessel is oozing blood slowly, and about a 25% risk if there is a nearby blood clot. The risk of re-bleeding is less than 5% if the base of the ulcer is clean.
Tobacco and cocaine abuse can increase the risk of bleeding ulcers.
Acid blockers are commonly prescribed to relieve pain but be warned - the relief is very temporary!
About 3 in every 10 people showing the symptoms of a bleeding ulcer will need surgery to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding is severe, then endoscopy is the most common surgical procedure used to stop the bleeding.
A doctor uses an endoscope to cauterize or seal the bleeding vessel using a heated electrical probe. Or he may close it off by injecting solutions into the bleeding vessel.
Doctors can also easily see the signs of all the different types of bleeding when using an endoscope. Blood clots, active spurting, slow oozing of blood from arteries, as well as swollen blood vessels that are not bleeding yet, can all be detected with the use of an endoscope.
Endoscopy is currently the gold standard for treating bleeding ulcers.
All our information is sourced from various digestive health experts,
a world renowned immunologist, and from these trusted websites;
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