Cameron Ulcer

The Definition Of A Cameron Ulcer, Its Causes, And Its Treatment


Types Of Digestive System Ulcers


A Cameron ulcer is one of several types of ulcers that can occur in the stomach, the esophagus, or the duodenum, the first section of the small intestine. These ulcers are generally characterized by a tear in the mucosa, which is the layer lining these organs. By far, the most common ulcers are gastric ulcers, normally confined to the stomach, stress ulcers, duodenal ulcers, and Cameron ulcers. Cameron ulcers are always associated with a hiatal hernia, and are generally considered to be the result of trauma suffered by the stomach as it forces its way through the diaphragm, which is how a hiatal hernia is defined. There are a few other types of ulcers that fall under a general classification called idiopathic ulcers, meaning their exact cause may be suspected, but in most cases is not completely known.


Not A Terribly Common Occurrence


In addition to lesions caused by physical trauma, the trauma associated with the stomach forcing its way through the opening of the diaphragm, Cameron ulcers can also be caused by the excessive amounts of stomach acid that may travel up into the esophagus. These ulcers are generally rather superficial, and tend to be limited to the lining of the stomach, or the esophagus, rather than eating a hole through either organ. As such, these ulcers seldom bleed, but they can become inflamed, and at times serious complications can develop. These ulcers are present in about 1 in every 20 people who have a hiatal hernia.


While the ulcers seldom bleed, there are situations in which they will do so. When these ulcers do bleed, the bleeding, referred to a gastrointestinal or GI bleeding, may become chronic, and the bleeding may be significant enough to cause chronic anemia due to iron loss. In a few cases, the bleeding brought about by these ulcers has proven to be fatal, but fortunately cases where this has happened are very rare.


Restricted Blood Flow As A Possible Cause


A third potential cause of this type of ulcer is ischemia. Ischemia is a condition in which the blood supply to certain organs or tissues is somehow being restricted. If the restriction is too severe, the shortage of oxygen and glucose needed for cellular metabolism can cause cells and tissues to die. Even if the tissues don’t die, the area affected may experience what could be called local anemia. There are a number of things that can cause ischemia, a condition which can of course affect any part of the body, and not only the lining of the stomach, or the esophagus. Ischemia can be caused by atherosclerosis, hypoglycemia, low blood pressure or hypotension, an embolism, or the rupture of a blood vessel.




The usual symptoms of a hiatal hernia are nausea, belching, heartburn, and occasionally chest pain, which often is mistaken for a cardiac problem. The presence of one or more Cameron ulcers can make these symptoms more severe than normal, since a number of lesions can be caused by these ulcers. Even though these ulcers are present in only a small percentage of those who have a hiatal hernia, checking for their presence during an endoscopic examination of the hernia has become a standard practice.




Treatment for these ulcers is usually determined on a case-by-case basis, and can depend to some extent upon the patient’s past medical history. The treatment can be either surgical or medical. Of those experiencing these ulcer, and have undergone treatment for them, approximately a third will have a recurrence of the problem, and just under 20% will have experienced bleeding or an iron deficiency due to the presence of the lesions.


The food you eat can have a great deal to do the severity of the symptoms that are felt. That is not to say that eating just the right food will in itself cure the problem. If you have any type of a stomach ulcer it needs to be treated by a medical practitioner. The food you eat is important however, since some foods can make the symptoms worse and other foods can often lessen the severity of the symptoms to some extent. One of the best food types you can eat, believe it or not, is a spicy food, a food that contains chili pepper. It is a myth that chili peppers should be avoided if you have stomach ulcer. Anytime you have such an ulcer, bacteria will build up, and it is these bacteria that have a great deal to do with causing the lining of the stomach to become inflamed. Hot pepper kills these bacteria. In other words, spicy foods can actually be good for you. Antacid pills are good as well. In fact, antacid pills are sometimes the only treatment that will need to be prescribed, since if the acid can be kept under control, the stomach will often heal itself. In most cases however, a hiatal hernia will have to be dealt with if the Cameron ulcers are to be effectively treated.