Health Post On Peptic Ulcer Disease
A peptic ulcer is an open sore in the inner lining of the stomach and upper part of the duodenum (small intestine). There are two common types peptic ulcer; Gastric Ulcer ( if it occurs in the stomach) and Duodenal ( in the duodenum). A person may have one or both types of ulcer at the same time. Having both types are known as gastroduodenal ulcer.
A peptic ulcer can also occur in the lower part of the esophagus and this is called esophageal ulcer. PUD is common in our environment. People can develop an ulcer at any age but it is more common of chronic use of NSAIDs for arthritis.
Causes of Peptic Ulcer
Peptic ulcers happen during acid in the digestive tract attacks the inner surface of the small intestine or stomach. The acid, however, can form an unpleasant open sore that may cause may bleeding.
The digestive tracts are covered with a mucous layer that normally protects against acid. However, if the number of acids is reduced or the number of mucus is increased you may end up developing an ulcer.
- Helicobacter pylori bacteria normally live in the mucous layer that coats and protects tissues that line the stomach and small intestine. often, the H. pylori bacterium causes no problems, it can cause inflammation of the stomach’s inner layer, producing an ulcer.
It’s not clear how H. pylori infection spreads. It may be transmitted from person to person by close contacts, such as kissing. People may also contract H. pylori through food and water.
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs ( NSAIDs) such as Aspirin, Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc. The stomach produces acids which help in the digestion of food. A lining protects the inside of the stomach and duodenum from the acids. Both H.pylori and NSAIDs weaken the lining, so the acid can damage the stomach and duodenal wall. Also using steroids for a long time can lead to an ulcer.
- Lifestyle factors like smoking and excessive alcohol intake increase the risk of PUD. Stress and spicy food do not cause ulcer but can worsen the symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of PUD
PUD can be asymptomatic ie some people may have it without knowing. the most common symptoms of gastric and duodenal ulcers are upper abdominal pain. This is a burning or gnawing sensation that occurs shortly after meals for gastric ulcer. For duodenal ulcer, the pain is worse when the stomach is empty for example between meals, at night or early in the morning. Food relieves pain for duodenal ulcer while for gastric ulcer food might worsen the pain.
Other symptoms Include
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal fullness and bloating
- Chest discomfort
- Feeling full after eating little
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Dark blood in stools
- Difficulty in breathing
The untreated ulcer can lead to serious and life-threatening complications like internal bleeding, with vomiting of blood, bloody or tarry stools, anemia, perforation of the stomach and small intestine, stomach cancer.
A peptic ulcer caused by H.Pylori is diagnosed through a blood, breath, or stool test that detects the bacteria.
Treatment of PUD
This depends on the cause. Treatment may involve taking medications that either reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach or protect the lining of the stomach and duodenum. If the ulcer is caused by H.pylori infection, it is treated with antibiotics and drugs that reduce acid production.
Dietary changes can be important for treating and preventing peptic ulcer disease (PUD). It is paramount to avoid foods and flavorings that induce the stomach to produce acid such as pepper, black pepper, caffeine, alcohol, cigarette. Most ulcers take about a month or two to heal after proper treatment. However, peptic ulcer can come back after treatment.
Tips to prevent Helicobacter pylori infection
- Wash your hands with soap and water before eating and after making use of the toilet to protect yourself from infection.
- Cooked food and meat all the way through
- Wash fruits and vegetable thoroughly.
- Apply care with pain relievers. If you always use pain relievers that boost your chance of peptic ulcer, take measures to reduce your risk of stomach difficulties. For example, take the medication with meals.
Always consult with your doctor to find the most moderate dose possible that still gives you pain relief. Avoid taking alcohol when taking medication, considering the fact that the two can combine to increase your risk of stomach upset.
In case you need an NSAID, you may want to also take supplementary medications such as a PPI, an antacid, cytoprotective agent or an acid blocker. A type of NSAIDs also called COX-2 inhibitors may be less apt to induce peptic ulcers but may however improve the risk of a heart attack.
A peptic ulcer can be caused by infection. Stress doesn’t cause ulcer but worsens it. Peptic ulcer disease can be treated also with antibiotics, if left untreated it can lead to serious and life-threatening complications, so ulcers should be treated and monitored by a doctor. If you have ulcer make sure you see a doctor.