Regular use of certain pain relievers can damage the lining of the stomach. Taking aspirin or ibuprofen are known to can irritate or inflame the lining of your stomach and small intestine. As can various other over-the-counter and prescription pain medications. Peptic ulcers are more common in older adults who take this type of pain medications frequently.
Coated aspirin is designed to pass through your stomach without dissolving. The medicine is designed so that is does not fully disintegrate and enter the bloodstream until it reaches your small intestine. This is thought to be gentler on the stomach and may be appropriate for some people who take a daily low-dose aspirin, especially in those with a history of gastric or duodenal ulcers.
Keep in mind that some of the symptoms of a peptic ulcer might not be an ulcer at all. When your body is starting to feel hungry, a hormone called ghrelin is working. This hormone does way more than just signal your body to begin prepping for food digestion. In addition to ghrelin’s effects on appetite and the distribution of energy, new research shows that ghrelin “the hunger signal” hormone also plays crucial roles in other systems of the body including insulin production, cardio protection, bone metabolism and more.
Just as ghrelin plays a vital role in increasing appetite, another hormone called leptin suppresses appetite. Both hormones are strong chemicals and are powerful signals designed to help humans survive and thrive, but some modern foods (in particular, those containing highly processed fat, sugar, and salt) can interfere with the body’s normal processes and cause these gut hormones to stop functioning properly. This can cause the body to feel even more discomfort, perhaps even making you think you have an ulcer. Keep in mind that ghrelin and leptin can be better managed through good nutrition and a diet of whole foods, regular exercising, getting enough sleep and stress management.
As mentioned before, your healthcare professional will likely suggest a number of tests to determine whether your digestive hormones need adjustment or if you do in fact have a peptic ulcer or ulcers.
Other health conditions
Other related conditions that can lead to ulcers include Behcet’s disease and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Upper abdominal pain is a common symptom for both of these conditions.
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a rare condition in which one or more tumors form in the pancreas or the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). This condition is thought to be related to peptic ulcers because they secrete large amounts of the hormone gastrin, which causes the stomach to produce too much acid.
Behcet’s disease, also called Behcet’s syndrome, is an uncommon disorder connected to the immune system that causes blood vessel inflammation throughout the body, including the digestive system.
Other conditions that are more common but are sometimes related to persons with peptic (gastric or duodenal ulcers) include Crohn’s disease and liver cirrhosis.