Peptic ulcer is a sore condition of your stomach mainly in which the open pores are developed in the inner lining of stomach, lower part of esophagus and duodenum. The most common symptom of peptic ulcer is stomach pain. Peptic ulcer is also known as gastric ulcer. With a gastric ulcer, the pain may worsen with eating. The pain may be in the form of burning. When the gastric juice is produced it complicates more the situation with acute pain. It is usually caused by the Helicobacter pylori or some chemical intakes e.g alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking. In this article, the discussion will be about the symptoms, causes, complications and prevention of peptic ulcer.
Types of Peptic ulcer:
Peptic ulcer may include the ulcer in three regions:
Gastric ulcer (ulcer in stomach)
Duodenal ulcer (ulcer in the upper part of small intestine)
In the lower part of esophagus near to the cardia region of stomach.
Signs and symptoms:
Signs and symptoms of peptic ulcer may include:
Feeling of fullness, bloating or belching
Fatty food intolerance
Burning stomach pain due to acid production
Vomiting having red or black colour or Hematemesis (vomiting blood directly)
Dark blood in stools, or stools having black colour
Foul smelling feces that is the condition known as Melena that is due to the presence of oxidized iron of hemoglobin.
Vomiting or nausea
Unexpected weight loss
Changes in appetite
The duodenal ulcer is mainly characterized by the night pain. However, in gastric ulcer upper abdominal pain usually occurs.
Waterbrash (rush of saliva)
In case of peptic ulcer, the pain may happen during meal times as when we are taking food there is more acid production that makes the pain severe. In duodenal ulcer, the pain occurs after three hours after taking a meal.
Causes of peptic ulcer:
Peptic ulcer occurs when the internal lining of stomach is eaten away and holes are formed in it. The pain may disappear when a person eats and returns after an hour or some more time. The open pores produced in peptic ulcer may bleed too. Ulcer is caused by many causing factors but it is not caused by any dietary reason e.g eating the spicy foods. The other causes may include:
Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that is responsible for peptic ulcer in stomach mainly. These bacteria used to live in the gastric pits and here they secrete urease that makes their surrounding environment alkaline suitable for their growth. These bacteria cause the inflammation of the stomach internal lining. H.pylori produces certain products that inhibit the acid production from parietal cells thus causing ulcer in the stomach mucosa. But when the H.pylori resides in the antrum pylorus they cause the increased acid production due to more gastrin thus causing here the duodenal ulcers.
Stress may also one of the factors causing peptic ulcers. Such type of ulcers is known as stress ulcers that may be due to such health problems that are to be handled in the intensive care unit.
The risk of peptic ulcer in the users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is four times more as compared to the non-users. Mucous layer in the stomach protects the stomach lining from acid being eaten away. The production of mucous is enhanced or stimulated by the prostaglandlins. These drugs interfere with the precursors of these prostaglandlins and hence the mucous production is impaired. NSAIDs also inhibits the healthy proliferation of the mucosal cells and cause the gastric bleeding.
Peptic ulcer may be reduced by following some preventions:
For the prevalence or the spread of H.pylori, there is no specific evidence but it has been said that it is transmitted through the person to person contact or by food and water. You can keep yourself away from the H.pylori by frequently washing your hand with soap and by eating foods that have been cooked completely.
Use pain killers with cautions:
Use pain killers with such methods so that they don’t cause stomach pain or complications e.g while taking meals. Avoid taking alcohol while taking your medicatons or ask your doctor to minimize the dose as possible with the relieving effect.
Treatment of the peptic ulcer includes:
Stopping the use of NSAIDs
Giving medications to decrease stomach acid. The medications used for this purpose are usually proton pump inhibitors.
Ulcers due to H.pylori are treated with amoxicillin, clarithromycin etc.
Bleeding ulcers may be treated with endoscopy and open surgery.
So, in the light of above discussion peptic ulcer is a very serious disease that may leave you at the edge of complications and pains but it can be prevented or treated by proper medication and treatment.