Before understanding the effects of bleeding ulcer, you should know what an ulcer is. An ulcer can be defined as a lesion or extra growth on the skin and it can develop on any part of your body. If not given treatment on time, an ulcer can enlarge in size leading to life threatening consequences due to internal bleeding. In case if the ulcerous lesions are found in gastrointestinal tract it can affect the neighboring blood vessels once it starts bleeding.
Bleeding of ulcer can occur mildly or it may erupt suddenly with intense bleeding. It would cause intense pain, decreased blood pressure and nausea or vomiting. Mild forms of bleeding ulcer may cause fatigue and anemic conditions on the person. It will certainly cause pain on the area of intestine and stomach apart from indigestion problem.
Ulcer can sometimes create a hole on the intestine damaging internal organs. Any perforation (hole) on the intestine can have serious problems of filling the toxic materials into the abdomen which in turn can block the functions of intestine causing gastrointestinal obstruction. The person may not be able to pass stool and may begin to vomit blood.
Bleeding of ulcer directly increases if the person smokes or drinks alcohol. The condition may worsen even if he takes lots of anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin or ibuprofen. Treatment of ulcers should begin in initial stages to prevent bleeding ulcer. An ulcer may start bleeding only if left untreated or left undiagnosed.
Blood is discharged from the ulcer which flows into the digestive tract. Some of the signs of bleeding ulcer are vomiting blood (may look like coffee granules), bloody stool (with foul smelling black color), nose bleed, extreme tiredness, loss of weight, nausea and dizziness. It causes intense sharp pain on the stomach with difficulty in standing or walking which is due to loss of blood. The pain may spread towards your back slowly. In rare cases, it can also affect the internal organs causing serious damage warranting immediate surgery. It can cause coronary heart disease or renal failure for diabetic patients, since heart attack can be triggered by the anemic conditions of GI bleeding.
A slow bleeding ulcer is potentially dangerous since it may become fatal if treatment is not given on time.
Basically ulcers can form when the soft issues of the stomach gets eroded either due to bacterial infection or prolonged usage of drugs. Taking non steroidal medications for long time can actually affect the GI lining inducing bleeding of ulcer. Ulcers are of varying size measuring from one inch to very big in diameter.
Once an ulcer grows inside the stomach it has increased risk of bleeding. It will erode the surrounding muscles of the stomach and any other tissues on its path. It damages the blood vessels and ruptures them thereby increasing blood loss. The intensity of blood loss depends on the damage caused to blood vessels. If small blood vessels rupture inside then the loss of blood would be slow and vice versa.
Smoking and drinking can aggravate bleeding ulcer. Use of tobacco in any form and use of substances like cocaine or heroin directly increases the chance of bleeding of ulcers. Drinking habit can seriously erode the soft mucous lining of the stomach increasing the acidity.
Intake of strong medicines of anti-inflammatory category can trigger internal bleeding of ulcers.
Lifestyle habits can also cause serious damage to ulcers inducing bleeding.
The doctor may look for the above symptoms and do an endoscopy on the stomach for detecting blood in the upper intestinal tract.
Endoscopy is done for removing ulcerous growth from the intestine to stop bleeding. Drugs like acid blockers are prescribed to get quick relief from pain.
Surgery is the best option available for treating bleeding ulcers. For severe cases of bleeding, endoscopic surgery is done to arrest massive bleeding. The surgeon would seal the blood vessel opening that bleeds by the technique of cauterization. He may also push strong solutions that stop bleeding in the blood vessel.
An endoscope is a small tube that is inserted into the stomach through the mouth which carries a tiny camera on the other end to see the condition of stomach and intestine. Then the surgeon would insert a tiny heating device into the endoscopic tube to cauterize the blood vessel and to arrest bleeding.
In case of bleeding from large blood vessels, the surgeon may use chemicals that promote clotting of blood. He would inject chemicals into the blood vessel through the endoscope which would stop bleeding.
Medications like histamine 2 blocker (cimetidine, nizatidiene, ranitidine etc) are prescribed to block the receptors that stimulate release of stomach acid.
Proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole and esomeprazole are used largely to stop the gastric acid that induces bleeding of ulcers. For treating bleeding ulcers due to bacterial infection strong antibiotics are prescribed.
You can prevent formation of ulcers by taking healthy foods and by following hygienic lifestyle. You need to make dietary changes in case you have been diagnosed with gastric ulcer.
Take extensive amounts of green leafy vegetables like cabbage and foods that contains vitamin K which facilitates blood clotting. Cabbage juice is highly effective in healing peptic ulcers since it contains glutamine. You can use avocados, yams and soft food items liberally and avoid taking coffee, tea and other beverages. Decrease the intake of oily foods and fats and eat smaller meals rather than sticking on to one hefty meal.