Benign stomach tumours are a condition in which there is an abnormal growth in the stomach. Various factors like daily diet, excessive dependence on drugs and medicines and an inapt lifestyle often affect the digestive system.
The aetiology of benign tumours varies according to the type of tumour and the associated pathology. Benign stomach tumours are often triggered by irritation and swelling of the stomach lining, though there are many other causes to consider. When the stomach lining gets inflamed, causing gastritis it can damage the cells present over there. When this occurs repeatedly, it increases the risk of abnormal cell growth, which is a common cause of benign stomach tumours. Benign stomach tumours that are caused by inflammation of the gastric lining, may be caused by exposure to radiation, Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori) infection, heavy intake of proton pump inhibitors, and stomach polyps which can be categorized as genetic cause.
Benign tumours of the stomach can be painful, may cause bleeding or blockage or more commonly cause no symptoms and they are usually discovered incidentally. Also, gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) have different behavioural patterns, ranging from benign to malignant. The most common symptom of a benign stomach disease (like a stomach ulcer) is burning abdominal pain that extends from the navel to the chest, which can range from mild to severe.
Other common signs of a peptic ulcer include:
- Changes in appetite.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Chest pain.
Two types of tests are available to diagnose a peptic ulcer. They are called upper GI endoscopy and upper gastrointestinal (Upper GI) series.
Upper GI Endoscopy
In this procedure, the doctor inserts a long tube with a camera down your throat and into your stomach and small intestine to examine the area for ulcers. This instrument also allows your doctor to remove tissue samples for examination.
High risk features suggestive of cancers include:
- Age older than 40 years.
- Weight loss.
- Difficulty swallowing.
Upper GI Series
- If you don’t have difficulty swallowing and have a low risk of stomach cancer, your doctor may recommend an upper GI test instead. For this procedure, you’ll drink a thick liquid called barium (barium swallow) and an X-ray will be taken to examine the upper gut organs.
- Urea breath test for Helicobacter Pylori bacteria is also part of the work-up.
- Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your ulcer. If the bacterial test comes positive, then you will need to receive specific therapy against H-Pylori infection.
- If your doctor determines that you don’t have an H. pylori infection, they may recommend a prescription or over-the-counter PPI (such as Prilosec or Prevacid) for up to eight weeks to reduce stomach acid and help your ulcer heal.
- Coating agents like Sucralfate and H-receptor blockers like Ranitidine also play some role.
- Avoid Alcohol.
- Limiting your use of ibuprofen, aspirin.
- Stop smoking cigarettes and follow healthy eating habits.