Peptic ulcer, what are its causes, symptoms and ways to get rid of it?
A peptic ulcer is an open sore that develops on the inner lining of the stomach, the upper part of the small intestine. The most common symptom of peptic ulcers is stomach pain. Stomach ulcers include:
Stomach ulcers that occur on the inside of the stomach.
Duodenal ulcers that occur inside the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum).
The most common causes of peptic ulcers are H. pylori infection and long-term use of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Stress and spicy foods do not cause peptic ulcers, but they can worsen symptoms.
peptic ulcer symptoms
stinging stomach pain
Feeling of fullness, bloating, or belching.
Intolerance to fatty food.
The most common symptom of peptic ulcers is stinging stomach pain. Stomach acids worsen the pain, as does an empty stomach. The pain is often lessened by eating certain foods that block stomach acid or by taking acid-reducing medication, but it may then return.
Necessity to consult a doctor
You should see your doctor if you experience any of the severe signs or symptoms listed above. You should also see your doctor if over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers help relieve the pain, but the pain often comes back.
Causes of peptic ulcers
This disease occurs when acid in the digestive system necroses the inner surface of the stomach, or small intestine. The acid can create a painful open sore that may bleed.
The digestive system is naturally covered with a mucus layer that protects against acid, but if the amount of acid increases or the amount of mucus decreases, you may develop an ulcer. Common causes include:
H. pylori bacteria usually live in the mucous layer that covers and protects the tissues that line the stomach and small intestine. H. pylori often causes no problems, but it can cause inflammation of the stomach’s inner layer, leading to ulcers.
It is not clear how H. pylori spreads, as it may be transmitted from one person to another through close contact, such as kissing. People may also be exposed to H. pylori through food and water.
Regular use of some pain relievers
Taking aspirin, as well as over the counter and prescription pain medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can irritate or inflame the lining of your stomach and small intestine. These medications include ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and ketoprofen, but not acetaminophen.
Peptic ulcers are more common in older adults who take pain medications frequently, or in people who take these medications for osteoarthritis.
peptic ulcer risk factors
In addition to taking NSAIDs, you may have an increased risk of developing peptic ulcers if you:
You smoke. Smoking increases the risk of peptic ulcers in people infected with H. pylori.
You drink alcohol. Alcohol can irritate and erode the mucous lining of the stomach and increase the amount of stomach acid that is produced.
You suffer from untreated stress.
You eat spicy foods.
These factors alone do not cause sores, but they can make sores worse or difficult to heal.
Complications of peptic ulcer
If left untreated, peptic ulcers can lead to:
Bleeding can occur as slow blood loss, which may lead to anemia, or severe blood loss that may require hospital treatment or a blood transfusion. Severe blood loss may cause black or bloody vomit, or black or bloody stools.
Peptic ulcers can drill a hole in the wall of your stomach or small intestine (necrosis), increasing your risk of developing a serious infection in your abdominal cavity (peritonitis).
Peptic ulcers can block the passage of food through your digestive system, causing you to easily become full and vomit, and lose weight due to swelling caused by inflammation or scarring.
Medical treatment of peptic ulcer
Treatment for this disease depends on the cause. Treatment usually includes killing H. pylori, if present, refraining from or reducing the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and helping the ulcer to heal with the use of diaphragms.
Medications may include:
Antibiotics to kill stomach germs.
Medications to block stomach acid production and promote healing.
Medicines to reduce acid production.
Antacids that disrupt stomach acid.
Medicines that protect the lining of the stomach and small intestine.
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