The Problem of Stress

Headaches, a lack of sleep, and a dependence on caffeine are all telltale signs that you’re in a time of high stress. Stress like this usually occurs during times of major change, like during finals if you’re in school, or during a particularly hectic work cycle. Aside from these symptoms, stress can have other effects on the body.

Weight gain can occur if you’re stressed because you might be tempted to find comfort in junk food. Or, you do the exact opposite and struggle to eat if your stress causes you to lose your appetite. Physical stress can lead to back pain or an eye strain. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, those types of injuries are more common than insomnia that can be triggered by mental stress.

Another kind of symptom of stress is an ulcer. A stress ulcer occurs when some form of injury to the body triggers irritation around the stomach. Many people describe the pain as a burning, itching sensation. Antacids can help reduce the acidity of the stomach to offer some temporary relief from a stress ulcer.

The best course of action for a stress-related ulcer is to eat mild food and go to a doctor and see what treatment is the best for you. The worst thing for treating a stress ulcer is to get more worked up, so stay calm and listen to the doctor’s orders!

Sometimes people think they have an ulcer brought on by physical stress, but what they actually have is a peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcers in the stomach are referred to as gastric ulcers, while ulcers in the lining of the small intestine are duodenal ulcers.

Peptic ulcers irritate the stomach with pain similar to that of a stress ulcer, but they have a different cause. The two main causes are overuse of NSAIDs or aspirin, or the H. pylori bacteria. Adults that are middle-aged and older are more susceptible to this type of ulcer because they tend to take aspirin-based medication more frequently than younger people.

Some of the symptoms of a peptic ulcer differ from a stress ulcer. GastroCare says that people suffering from a peptic ulcer might have difficulty eating fattier foods without pain. Bloating and gassiness are also common symptoms. These symptoms will likely be more severe in between meals or if you’ve gone a long time without eating because of the increased stomach acid, Other, more severe symptoms are vomiting and black, tarry stool. A loss of appetite, weight loss, and severe nausea are also red flags.

If you have any of the latter symptoms, seek medical attention immediately! Because these ulcers are basically just small open sores in your stomach lining, ignoring them can lead to internal bleeding, infection, or even an obstruction in the digestive tract. It’s a lot easier to go to your physician for an ulcer than it is to have emergency surgery to correct an internal bleed.

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