According to Cleveland Clinic, one out of ten people may have an ulcer. This high probability can be attributed to exposure to the bacteria called H. Pylori, which mainly targets the digestive system. When H. Pylori irritates the digestive mucus layering the gastrointestinal tract. Gastric acid, which plays a big role in digestion, now becomes a destructive component to the tissue of the digestive organs, so they sustain wounds or ulcers.
Although ulcers are common, our body is capable of self-healing them. Nevertheless, we should always be careful and be wary of what triggers and worsens ulcers. Here is a rundown of the most common types of ulcers and how you can prevent them:
More commonly known as canker sores, mouth ulcers are white-looking wounds that may scatter on the floor and roof of the mouth, gums, tongue, and lips. Anyone can suffer from these painful mouth lesions if they accidentally bite or burn their tongue and the inside of their cheeks or mouth. Sometimes, the mouth could incur wounds from wearing braces, if not react adversely to oral medications.
A portion of the entire population suffers what is so-called aphthous or cyclical ulcers. For reasons dubbed by medical professionals like a shortage of iron and vitamin B in the body, they have to endure these painful sores at least once a month. Studies also purport that stress, high body acidity levels, and hormonal imbalances, especially among women, contribute to one’s proneness to having mouth sores.
How long a mouth sore heals depends from person to person, but it takes 14 days on average. Some types of ulcers grow in size over time, and their pain can be worsened by eating overly hot or spicy food and alcohol intake. The courser surface of these wounds may remain, but the pain can no longer be felt when touched.
A person complaining of discomfort from mouth ulcers is typically prescribed with an antimicrobial rinse or topical creams by their doctors. On the other hand, those who have an underlying autoimmune disease like Crohn’s disease that affects the GI tract top-down and also suffers recurring mouth ulcers are advised to follow a strict diet and take OTC iron supplements and multivitamins.
Peptic ulcers happen within the digestive organs like the small intestine and the stomach and are caused by a bacterial infection or other triggers like stress and acidic beverages. It manifests as a stinging pain somewhere above the navel, and, in worse cases, it can cause one to vomit.
A patient is normally prescribed anti-acidity drugs for early symptoms and advised to stop smoking and drinking acidic and alcoholic beverages. These ulcers could advance into intestinal bleeding if left untreated, which can only be flushed out and corrected with surgery.
Also called ischemic ulcers, arterial ulcers develop on extremities, particularly the feet. They appear like hollowed-out patches on one’s ankles, heels, or toes. On the worse side of the spectrum, the wound could get so deep as to expose tendons. As the wounds are exposed to the elements, they need to be regularly sanitized, treated with antiseptic solutions, and dressed.
This is primarily caused by blood deficiency in the area, therefore, depriving it of tissue-sustaining oxygen. Atherosclerosis, a condition wherein one’s arteries are blocked with hardened lipids, is often cited as a common contributor to arterial ulcers. The wounds of those who have skin conditions may take longer to heal.
People diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney, and vascular disease are often cautioned against having arterial ulcers because they are less likely to fully recover once they have them. So they are prescribed to take preventive measures such as maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol level, sitting comfortably, wearing comfortable footwear that provides adequate coverage, and quitting smoking.
Long-staying geriatric patients with limited mobility are the most susceptible to developing bedsores, otherwise called pressure ulcers because of the friction hospital linen and their body weight make with their skin. Most hospitals use a scale like the Braden to rank the severity of a patient’s bedsore and base their treatment off of such a ranking.
Treatment of pressure ulcers includes cleaning and application of moisturizing creams. Equally important is the frequent turning of the patient to distribute their weight and blood circulation evenly throughout the body.
We can develop ulcers in and out of the body. If we are not careful, these wounds could worsen to the point of becoming chronic. Just like any other painful condition, you want to take proactive measures at a younger age so that you do not have to suffer worse cases with old age.