At one point or other in our lives we have all experienced some form of heartburn. The effects of heartburn may be mild or frequent and painful, but they are symptoms that we can ease. There is however, an unfortunate side effect that can occur due to frequent heartburn irritations. This complication is a heartburn ulcer.
What exactly is heartburn ulcer? A heartburn ulcer occurs when the lining of the esophagus deteriorates due to the effects of the stomach acid that has been repeatedly refluxed into the esophagus. Due to the corrosive effect the acid has on the esophagus lining, a hole is burned through the lower section of the esophagus.
Heartburn ulcers are usually located in the lower section of the esophagus and they are sometimes connected to GERD disease. Gerd is chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease. There is a possibility that someone told you that heartburn ulcers are contagious. This is a myth. You cannot catch heartburn ulcers from anyone. A heartburn ulcer is usually a symptom of another problem.
As heartburn ulcers erode the lining of the esophagus, there is a strong possibility of bleeding occurring. This condition may lead to iron deficiency anemia. So what are the causes of heartburn ulcer?
The main cause of heartburn ulcers is the destruction of the esophagus lining by the H. Pyloridus bacteria. H. Pyloridus bacteria are usually found in the stomach. When the stomach acid reflux back into the esophagus the H. Pyloridus bacteria is usually brought into contact with the esophagus. Repeated acid reflux will bring a high amount of stomach H. Pyloridus bacteria into the esophagus where it will be strong enough to begin eating away at the esophagus lining. Paving the way for a heartburn ulcer.
There are other causes that can develop heartburn ulcers. These include the continuous usage of anti-inflammatory medications, smoking and use of cigarettes and nicotine products as well as tobacco chewing.
The digestive disorders of GERD and Bulimia are also thought to have connections with heartburn ulcers.
For a person suffering from a heartburn ulcer how can it be diagnosed? Your doctor will refer you to a gastroenterologist. A barium x-ray or endoscopy will be taken to see if you do indeed have a heartburn ulcer.
The main complications that heartburn ulcer sufferers have, are bleeding and perforation of the esophagus. Luckily heartburn ulcers can be treated. The underlying cause of the problem must first be found and then treatment may be started. Some of the common treatments that are used are antibiotics to eradicate H. pyloridus.