Peptic Ulcers are formed in the internal lining of the stomach, the duodenum or also in the starting portion of the small intestine. These ulcers are painful and occur when the protective lining of the mucus inside the stomach is reduced due to negative effect of the digestive juices.
Symptoms of Peptic Ulcer
The symptoms of peptic ulcer include:
- Burning or gnawing pain in the upper or middle stomach between the meals or during bedtime
- Vomiting or nausea
Severe Symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Black or dark stool due to bleeding
- Excruciating pain in the upper or mid abdomen
What Causes Peptic Ulcers?
There is no single cause that leads to the formation of peptic ulcers. However, health experts have now come to the conclusion that imbalance between the digestive fluids such as the pepsin – a digestive enzyme and hydrochloric can acid can lead to imbalance in the duodenum and the stomach leading to the growth of ulcers. Some other causes of peptic ulcers include:
- Infection caused due to Helicobacter pylori- a bacterium
- Regular use of NSAIDs such as naproxen, aspirin, ibuprofen and other prescribed drugs in the same genre
- Excess production of acid from Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
It is true that eating spicy foods can increase the pain of ulcers but they are not responsible for the growth of peptic ulcers.
Who is more likely to get Ulcers?
The risk of peptic ulcers increases if you are:
- Above 50 years or more
- Excessive alcohol drinker
- Smoke tobacco or cigarettes
- Have a family medical history of peptic ulcers
How Peptic Ulcer is Diagnosed?
Gastroenterologist who may ask you to undergo several tests to check the presence of H.pylori infection diagnoses a peptic ulcer. These tests include stool, blood or simple breath test. Other tests include X-ray or an upper-GI series in which you will be asked to ingest contrast liquid such as barium. In severe cases, the doctor may also recommend endoscopy for accurate diagnosis.
Treatment for Peptic Ulcers
In case you are diagnosed with the bacterial infection, you will be prescribed antibiotics along with medications to reduce the acid level in your abdomen. More often, antibiotics and the acid-blocking medicines are enough to cure the symptoms of peptic ulcers, which are carried on for two weeks. For complete relief from peptic ulcer, the patient must take the complete dose of medication. The patient must avoid use of cigarettes, alcoholic beverages during the treatment and even after being cured to eliminate its recurrence.
Preventing Peptic Ulcers
Until now, no definite source of this infection has been found and hence there cannot be any certain preventive recommendation. Even then, you can protect yourself from the pain of peptic ulcers by washing hands thoroughly, drinking clean and safe water and eating clean and hygienic food.