Peptic Ulcers

PEPTIC ULCERS pain

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What Are Peptic Ulcers?

Although peptic ulcers are commonly known as stomach ulcers, these are also found in the oesophagus and the small intestine. As the name suggests, these are sores or lesions that appear in the inner lining of the above-mentioned organs. Research has shown that this condition is often linked with a certain kind of bacterial infection. The pathogen involved is one known as Helicobacter pylori. Alternatively, these sores appear when the delicate inner lining of the stomach or esophagus is damaged by corrosive acids in the stomach. Most often, patients complain of a dull, burning sensation in the stomach.

Gastric ulcers are those that develop in the inner lining of the stomach whereas duodenal ulcers are those that arise in the first section of the small intestine known as the duodenum. The former type is more common among women and the latter type is more frequently found in male patients. Oesophageal ulcers are those that appear in the esophagus, usually, it is the lowest section that communicates with the stomach.In some cases, especially when the condition is mild, the ulcers may go away on their own. However, if they persist and remain undiagnosed or untreated, there can be severe, even fatal, consequences.

 

What Causes Peptic Ulcers?

PEPTIC ULCERS painDigestion in the stomach is carried out with the help of stomach acids which are secreted by certain cells within the stomach. In terms of chemical composition, this acidic substance is identified as concentrated hydrochloric acid which is a highly corrosive compound. In order to counter the corrosive effects of acidic digestive juices, the delicate inner mucosa of the stomach is provided with certain protective mechanisms. For instance, the epithelial cells of the stomach produce an alkaline solution which coats the surface of the mucosa and neutralises the corrosive action of stomach acids. The stomach lining also secretes mucus which aids in protection from acid.

Any condition that disturbs this delicate balance between acid production and mucosal resistance to it can potentially give rise to peptic ulcers. For instance, in some individuals, there is an increased secretion of gastric acid, which overwhelms the protective defenses of the gastric or duodenal mucosa and corrodes it. Sometimes, this is linked with H. pylori infection. This bacterium is normally found in the stomach and small intestine, but sometimes it can give rise to inflammation in the mucosal lining. Other times lowered mucosal resistance may have to do with a reduction in blood supply. Alternatively, the patient may have a rare disease known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome which induces the body to produce excessive quantities of stomach acid. This tends to lead to the peptic ulcer formation.

 

Risk factors

  • Being older than 50 years of age makes it more likely to develop peptic ulcers.
  • Smoking.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Stress.
  • Hypercalcemia. In other words, having abnormally high levels of the mineral calcium in the blood.
  • Having a family history of peptic ulcer disease. In fact, having first-degree relatives with peptic ulcer disease makes it three times more likely to develop the condition yourself.
  • Regularly taking certain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Even aspirin can have a similar effect.
  • Eating spicy foods.
  • Cancer of the stomach.
  • Taking radiation therapy.

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean that you are sure to develop peptic ulcers. What it does mean is that you are more susceptible to it than others without these risk factors. Some risk factors are modifiable, which means that they are avoidable. For instance, if you have a family history of the condition or are middle aged, you can reduce your likelihood of developing peptic ulcers by avoiding smoking and spicy foods.

 

What Are Some Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcer Disease?

This condition is often asymptomatic. In other words, patients do not develop any symptoms. As a result, they are unaware of having the ulcers in the first place. This can also happen in the initial stages of disease or when the ulcers are small. However, those who do experience symptoms often complain of a burning pain running from the navel to the chest. Depending on whether the stomach, esophagus or duodenum is affected, the pain may worsen either before or after meals. The pain typically tends to come and go.

In symptomatic cases, patients may observe the following indications:

  • Burning pain in the abdominal area. This may extend to the chest as well. This pain is temporarily relieved by taking antacids.
  • Indigestion.
  • Bloating.
  • Frequent burps.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Weight loss for no other apparent reason.
  • Blood in stools, making the stools appear dark or black.
  • Vomiting blood.

 

What Are Some Potential Complications?

PEPTIC ULCERS surgeryIf peptic ulcers are not treated or the underlying causes satisfactorily resolved, the condition will keep worsening. This can have some very serious consequences. Since a majority of patients with the condition may actually be asymptomatic and unaware of having peptic ulcers, it is quite likely that the disease could reach a severe stage before it becomes apparent.

For one thing, the ulcers are already present as open sores in the mucosal lining of the stomach, duodenum or esophagus. If these are allowed to remain and continue to worsen, the sores can actually start to bleed. An indication of this is discoloration of stools, causing it to appear black. If the patient loses significant quantities of blood in this way over an extended period of time, he or she may develop anemia. Alternatively, if the bleeding is sudden and severe, the patient will need hospitalization and a blood transfusion.

Yet another critical possibility is that the ulcers may become so severe that the acid eats right through the stomach, duodenum or esophagus. This results in actual holes or perforations in the organs. As a result, there can be additional complications such as infection in the abdominal region.

 

What Do Diagnosis And Treatment Involve?

If you have noticed some of the symptoms listed above, your doctor may be able to identify the condition based on the pattern of symptoms and other details relating to diet, lifestyle and medical history. In order to confirm this suspicion, the following procedures may be performed:

  • Blood tests.
  • Breath tests.
  • Fecal occult blood test.
  • Upper endoscopy.

As we already seen, peptic ulcer disease can be aggravated by certain modifiable habits such as eating spicy foods. Hence, the condition can be alleviated to some extent by making certain dietary and lifestyle modifications. In case the condition is linked with H. pylori infection, the patient will be given antibiotics. Medications can also help to heal the ulcers and alleviate symptoms.

In severe cases, especially where bleeding is involved, the patient may need to undergo surgery. This may be done by means of a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure. However, if the condition is severe enough to have caused perforations, surgery may be performed to remove a portion of the damaged tissue.

 

Prevention of peptic ulcers

Peptic ulcers are common. However, it is estimated that a majority of patients are actually unaware of having the condition since they may experience few or no symptoms at all. In mild to moderate cases, medications can provide relief and resolution to a certain extent. Prevention of peptic ulcers is deeply rooted in practicing healthy dietary and lifestyles habits. These include completely refraining from smoking and alcohol consumption, limiting the use of NSAID medications, and practicing hygienic habits to prevent contamination of food.

 

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • The best way to prevent peptic ulcers is to keep your digestion healthy. It starts by chewing your food properly and not eating in a hurry.
  • Keep a gap of at least 2-3 hours between your dinner meal and your bedtime.
  • Neutralize your stomach’s acidic content by drinking loads of water and consuming low –sugar and low-fat foods.
Don'ts
  • Consume anything in excess, be it junk foods or even vitamin supplements or herbs.
  • Indulge in drinking too much coffee or tea.
  • Practice unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, or too much pharmaceutical drug consumption.

 

 

 

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Top 6 remedies to treat a razor burn at home Symptoms of razor burn include bumps on the skin, redness, and irritation of the skin. Find easy and…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
top 10 deadliest diseases
What are the top 10 deadliest diseases and what is causing them? What are the largest killers of human lives across the globe? Which diseases are the most fatal ones?…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Fibromyalgia fatigue
HCG Diet: The dangers of using this diet to lose weight HCG is a natural hormone produced by both men and women that corresponds to fertility. But how is…
EMG electromyography
EMG- Electromyography EMG detects the presence, location, and extent of diseases that damage the nerves such motor neuron disease. Electromyography…
glutamine workout
Glutamine: Why is this the right choice for muscle-gain supplement? Glutamine can help you gain muscles and build higher immunity. Read more to find out how you can…
HSV-IgM test
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)-IgM Test The HSV-IgM class antibody is produced by the body a few days after an initial HSV infection and…
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
cytomegalovirus iGG
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)- IgG Test The cytomegalovirus IgG is the immunoglobulin protein produced by our immune system when the body is infected by…
blood elements analysis
Vitamin Profile Your doctor will recommend you undergo the vitamin profile test if you are showing signs of either vitamin…
Turner syndrome and infertility
Infertility profile (women) The infertility profile tests in women are conducted to form a complete picture of the hormonal balance and…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
complement c4 test
Complement 4 (C4) Test The Complement 4 or C4 test measures the level of the protein in the bloodstream, and is primarily…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
Spinach: The ultimate way to boost health with this green superfood! Spinach is a green superfood that ranks high in both taste and nutrition. Read more to discover how…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
Keto diet healthy
Keto Diet: Did you know you could eat fats to burn fats? Keto diet - A wonder diet that lets you eat fats and lose weight too! Read on to…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
Echocardiogram
Echocardiography – ECHO Echocardiography (commonly known as ECHO) is an imaging modality (similar to ultrasonography) used to visualize the interior of…
creatinine
Creatinine Test The level of creatinine in the blood is a significant indicator of the health of your kidneys. This…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
beta hcg test
Beta hCG Test A Beta hCG test measures the level of human gonadotropin hormones present in the blood that is primarliy…
Proteinuria and blood pressure
Hypertension Profile Hypertension profile is a panel of blood tests done to analyse the cause of hypertension or high blood…
Crossfit with rope
CrossFit: Now get the perfectly sculpted body with this explosive gym routine CrossFit is a fitness regimen that makes use of high-intensity exercises in a shorter period to achieve muscle…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
free thyroxine ft4
Free thyroxine test (FT4) The FT4 or free thyroxine test is used to detect the level of free thyroxine of FT4 thyroid…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket Dragon fruit is packed with nutrients but low on calories. It is the dream food that can help…
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
understanding addiction
Addiction explained: An obsession that could cost you your life Is addiction a behavioral disorder? Or is it a chronic disease? How does addiction cause chemical and structural…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
kidney stones
Kidney stones Kidney stones are solid substances made up of crystals. They can be of various sizes. Treatment depend on…
cytomegalovirus igm test
Cytomegalo Virus (CMV) – IgM Test The CMV antibodies include both IgM and IgG antibodies which are the immune system's response to a CMV…
folate test
Folate test The Folate test measures and monitors the levels of folic acid in the blood. This test is also…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) –IgG Test The cardiolipin antibody IgG are responsible for the abnormal formation of clots in veins and arteries or phlebitis…
lipoprotein A
Lipoprotein (A) Test Lipoprotein (A) test is used to measure and monitor the levels of LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) in the bloodstream in…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
Anti-Inflammatory foods: 18 foods to a disease-free you Anti-inflammatory foods are the foods which are known to reduce the inflammation as well as the pain from…

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