An ulcer or blister is a type of painful wound, which heals slowly and re-develops many times. Ulcers are not an uncommon condition.
How ulcers appear and the symptoms they can cause depends on a number of conditions, such as what caused the ulcer and on which part of the body it developed.
Ulcers can develop in any part of the body, including the eyes, skin, or stomach. Symptoms develop according to the type of ulcer.
Some of the common causes of ulcers can be physical and emotional stress, overconsumption of medicines, diabetes, prolonged bed rest or lack of nutrients in the body. Symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, itching, fever, indigestion and weight loss.
In some cases, ulcers heal on their own, but in other cases, medical treatment and surgery may be required to prevent serious problems caused by ulcers. Complications from ulcers include bleeding, infection, or necrosis.
What is Ulcer
An ulcer is a cut, hole or crack in the skin membrane of the body, due to which the internal organs associated with that part are unable to function properly.
The symptoms of an ulcer depend on its type:
Symptoms of pressure ulcer:
- Sponge-like spots on the skin that appear hot and hard to touch
- Discoloration of the affected area of skin
- Pain and itching in the affected area
Symptoms of genital ulcers:
- You feel pain near your genital areas and the pain gets worse when touched.
- Itching may occur.
Symptoms of diabetic foot ulcer:
- Swelling, discoloration, and warm skin around the wound
- Foul-smelling discharge from ulcers
- Sore and hard feeling when touching the ulcer
- Hardening and thickening of the skin around the ulcer
Symptoms of Anal Fissure:
- There will be intense pain in the anus during bowel movements
- Blood lines in the stool or blood on the paper after wiping the anus
- Cracks in the skin around the anus
- A small lump in front of the crack
- Burning and itching feeling in the anal area
Symptoms of corneal ulcers:
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Pus-like discharge from the eye
- Burning sensation in the eye
- Red or pink eyes
- Hypersensitivity to light
Symptoms of mouth ulcers and aphthous ulcers:
- One or more painful sores in the skin inside the mouth
- Swelling of the skin around the wound
- Pain when chewing and brushing teeth
- Feeling of pain in the mouth when eating more salty, spicy and sour foods
- Loss of appetite
Symptoms of peptic ulcer:
- Change in appetite
- Blood in the stool or black colored stools
- Loss of body weight for which the cause is unknown
- Chest pain
Symptoms of Venous Ulcer:
- Ankle swelling
- Discoloration or darkening of the skin around the ulcer
- The skin around the ulcer hardens, causing your leg to become stiff and look like a champagne bottle held upside down.
- Leg heaviness
- Leg pain and swelling
- The skin of the leg becomes scaly and red and itchy in the leg
- Swollen and enlarged veins in the legs (varicose veins)
- Foul-smelling discharge from ulcers
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis:
- Stomach ache
- Stomach sounds
- Blood in stool
- Having a fever
- Rectal pain
- Weight loss
When should I see a doctor?
If you have developed an ulcer somewhere on your body that is not getting better for a few days, then you should see a doctor.
Apart from this, the doctor should also be seen in the following situations:
- Fluid oozing from an ulcer
- Ulcer bleeding
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in stool
- Pain after eating
Ulcer Types & Causes
The reasons why they develop can also vary according to the type of ulcer, such as:
These are also called bed ulcers or bed sores. Pressure ulcers are damage to the skin and the tissues beneath it. Pressure ulcers are mainly caused by prolonged pressure on the skin.
These are ulcers that occur in the genital areas. These cysts usually develop on the vulva or penis itself. Apart from this, they can also occur in the anus and its surrounding area.
Genital ulcers are usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection. These include herpes, syphilis and chancroid, etc.
Apart from this, genital ulcers can also occur as a result of inflammation and redness-related diseases, injury or as a wrong effect of any product applied on the skin.
This is a type of skin disorder in which bacteria start growing. It often starts with an injury to the skin.
Any type of crack or hole around the anus or inside the rectum is called an Allen fissure. Anal fissures are usually caused by large or hard stools.
Chronic constipation or frequent diarrhea can also cause cracks or holes in the skin around the anus.
Diabetic Foot Ulcer:
It is one of the main complications of diabetes. In diabetes, the blood circulation is greatly reduced, due to which the blood does not reach the feet in sufficient quantity.
It also takes a long time for the ulcer to heal due to reduced blood circulation.
Ulcers that occur in the cornea of the eye are called corneal ulcers. In this, an open wound is formed in the cornea.
There can be many reasons for corneal ulcers, these include infection, chemical exposure or injury to the eye, dryness in the cornea, and wearing contact lenses too much or not wearing them properly, etc.
Any type of open sore inside the mouth is called a mouth ulcer or ulcer. These blisters are usually small, painful sores that develop in the roots of the mouth or gums.
There are many factors that lead to mouth ulcers such as stress, hormonal changes, poor sleep and vitamin deficiencies.
Also called aphthous ulcer, it is a special type of mouth ulcer. These can mainly be due to emotional stress, accidental loss of teeth, nutritional deficiencies or viral infections.
Stomach ulcers (peptic ulcers):
This is a type of open wound that occurs in the inner lining of the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers are generally caused by bacterial infection.
Apart from this, stomach ulcers can also occur due to taking an excessive amount of pain killer medicines or due to increased emotional stress.
This ulcer occurs when the valves of the veins do not work properly. The work of the veins located in the legs is to carry the blood back to the heart, which is sometimes unable to do its job properly. This often happens because the valves that prevent blood from returning to the veins are not working properly.
When this happens, the blood starts to flow back down the leg and the pressure inside the leg increases. In this condition the skin becomes weak and the cut or scratch on the skin also takes time to heal.
It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the food, good bacteria, and cells inside the large intestine. White blood cells normally protect you from damage to the lining of your colon. They cause swelling, redness, and ulcers.
Some types of ulcers can be prevented by making some lifestyle changes and changes, such as:
- Give up alcohol
- Quit smoking and also avoid smoke from person who smokes
- Take medicines with food
- Drink plenty of water
- Rinse with salt in lukewarm water regularly
- Eat a balanced and nutrient-rich diet
- Maintain good hygiene
- Avoid eating certain foods like spicy food, citrus fruits and high fatty food etc.
- Keep the internal diseases of the body under control
- Do not take too much of pain killer medicines
- Maintain normal body weight
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam to check for an ulcer.
If your doctor thinks you may have a peptic ulcer, he or she will touch your abdomen and ask if you are experiencing any symptoms such as abdominal pain, flatulence, or pain when you touch your stomach.
During this, the doctor can also listen to the sounds coming from the stomach with the help of a stethoscope device.
Some other tests may also need to be done during the test, such as:
In this procedure, a thin, long and flexible tube is used with a camera at one end. The inner lining of the stomach and intestine is examined with the help of this tube.
With the help of an instrument, a piece can also be removed as a sample from the inner skin, this process is called biopsy.
It is a thick liquid, with the help of which the X-ray gives a clearer image.
If ulcers are not healing, then this problem may be related to diabetes. Your doctor may do a blood sugar test, a fasting blood sugar test, or an HbA1c test to diagnose your diabetes.
A swab test may be done to check for secondary infection.
Ulcers are treated according to their type, such as:
Changing positions regularly, using special mattresses to reduce pressure, and covering the ulcer with creams are the main options for treating pressure ulcers. In some severe cases, surgery may be required to heal the pressure ulcer.
A course of antibiotics is often given to treat genital ulcers. With the help of antibiotics, sexually transmitted infections are eliminated, due to which ulcers heal.
Diabetic Foot Ulcer:
If ulcers do not heal even after appropriate treatment to reduce pressure, or if the infection continues to grow, doctors often prescribe antibiotics, antiplatelet, or anti-clotting medications to treat the condition. In such a situation, there is rarely a need for an operation.
However, if the ulcer is not healing with any treatment and the risk of infection is increasing continuously, then in such a situation the operation is done. With the help of surgery, the infection is stopped so that the condition does not get worse.
Acute anal fissure does not last more than 6 weeks. Acute anal fissure is a common problem and can be cured with the help of home remedies.
Chronic anal fissures usually last for more than 6 weeks and may require medication and surgery to treat them. In such a situation, drink plenty of water and eat food rich in fiber.
If the ulcer is small and occurs on the surface of the cornea, it heals in a few days. Wash your eye with clean water or saline solution once or twice a day to clear debris inside the eye and heal surface ulcers faster.
If your doctor thinks you have a corneal ulcer due to a bacterial infection, antibiotic cream is applied repeatedly to the cornea to treat it.
Mouth ulcers and canker sores:
In such a situation, doctors recommend using a mouthwash that is free from alcohol and contains chlorhexidine gluconate.
Apart from this, the doctor may also ask to apply steroid mouthwash or ointment. Add a little salt to lukewarm water and gargle regularly.
Take pain-relieving medicines like paracetamol etc. Apply antiseptic gel on the ulcer. Take nutritional supplements like folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and zinc etc.
The doctor may prescribe certain medications to reduce the amount of stomach acid or to neutralize the acid, including omeprazole, ranitidine, and antacids.
If a peptic ulcer does not get better with medicines or develops serious complications such as bleeding inside the stomach, then surgery is done to treat it.
Most cases of venous ulcers heal within three to four months with proper treatment. The doctor may also ask you to keep your leg elevated above the level of the heart for a certain period of time, which helps in the circulation of blood. The doctor may usually ask to do this for half an hour continuously and for a total of three to four hours a day.
If the ulcers have become infected with bacteria, antibiotics are given to eliminate the infection.
In some cases, an operation may also be done to correct the circulation of blood in the leg. By doing this, the ulcers start to heal and after that, we also get saved from other problems.
Its treatment mainly includes medicines, diet changes and surgery etc. Medications include anti-inflammatory drugs, drugs that suppress the immune system, and corticosteroid drugs, etc.
Other treatments include antibiotics, pain relievers, and anti-diarrhea drugs. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove ulcerative colitis.
Risks & Complications of Ulcer
The following problems may develop when there is an ulcer on the skin:
If a person has a very weak immune system and has ulcers on his skin that have become infected. In such a situation, there is an increased risk of infection spreading from the ulcer to the blood and other organs. This condition is known as blood poisoning or septicemia.
In this condition the infection spreads to the bones.
Necrosis and Gangrene:
This is also a type of infection. This infection occurs when an ulcer becomes infected with bacteria. Tissue destruction starts in gangrene and necrosis.
Complications from mouth ulcers:
Mouth ulcers rarely cause any complications. In most cases, mouth ulcers tend to heal slowly over time.
It can also lead to some complications, including:
- Cellulitis in the mouth, which is caused by a secondary bacterial infection.
- Tooth infection (tooth abscess)
Complications from stomach ulcers:
In this, a hole is made in the lining of the stomach or small intestine. This ulcer is a very serious condition, if it is not treated then it completely damages the affected layer.
If any of the blood vessels inside the stomach or small intestine are damaged, they may bleed. In such a situation, blood starts coming in the vomit or stool or black-colored stool starts coming.
In this condition, the food is not able to come out of your stomach. In this, ulcers develop in one end of the stomach, due to which swelling and scar tissue start forming there. Because of this, the end of the intestine becomes compressed.