JackieS69 Asked :
My doctor diagnosed me with stomach ulcers about 4 months ago and has put me on a course of medication to try to heal it. At first it just started as indigestion and I responded well to antacids when I felt upset. Now there is pain (more than just a stomachache) which does not go down at all and each time he gives me a new drug, it only helps for a few days or a week at most. I am tired of this pain and these days there is constant tenderness when I press on the upper part of my abdomen. The pain gets worse after eating or when I am hungry.
My doctor said that my stomach acid is very acidic and I am worried that the ulcers have made holes in the stomach itself. I do not want to go for surgery or anything but I need to find a solution to sort out this problem. It’s affecting my life in so many ways and I am worried that it has now gone too far where it will not heal at all. Should I go to another doctor?
This question was posted under the Severe Indigestion Causes and Symptoms article.
Any response by the Health Hype team does not constitute a medical consultation and the advice should be viewed purely as a guide. Always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your current treatment program. The information provided in this article is not an authoritative resource on the subject matter and solely intends to guide the reader based on the questions asked and information provided.
Dr. Chris Answered :
A ‘hole in the stomach’ is referred to as a perforation and can occur in severe cases of gastritis or ulcers. It is not common and if the acid ‘eats’ through the stomach or the ulcers become deep enough to penetrate through the wall, your stomach contents will start to empty into the abdominal cavity. This will cause a condition known as peritonitis and the pain from this is so severe that you will need to be hospitalized. Abdominal swelling and a fever would also be present. In all likelihood this has not occurred as yet. Abdominal tenderness with rigidity and guarding may be an early sign of peritonitis but by now these symptoms would have progressed.
Chronic gastritis or gastric ulcers may not heal easily. It may require months of treatment and careful management and this should be overlooked by a gastroenterologist. Further tests may be due to ascertain the exact cause of the condition – there are a number of types of gastritis and a wide array of causes of ulcers. By identifying the cause and type of gastritis that you may have, your doctor can initiate the appropriate treatment and keep you on it over a period of time till the condition settles and the ulcers heal.
This may require many different types of tests and investigations, a number of drugs, dietary and even lifestyle changes. Gastritis and/or gastric ulcers that occurs secondary to some other condition will not ease until this condition is treated. Initially your doctor will start with palliative treatment to ease the pain and help the ulcers heal. If the condition is not responding to this treatment in the long term, then your doctor will need to investigate further.
Changing between doctors will not help your case. Each doctor will start from scratch if they are not aware of your previous test results and response to drugs. This will waste time. Rather ask your doctor for a referral to a gastroenterologist so that they can discuss your case and move forward instead of repeating tests and drugs. Gastritis or gastric ulcer pain can be very severe and persistent. It can affect your daily functioning and it is imperative that you return to your doctor and inform him that the condition is not improving.
It is also important to consider whether this pain is not related to the stomach as there are many other causes of upper abdominal pain. Refer to Upper Middle Abdominal Pain.
Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on June 13, 2010