Peptic ulcer disease or Stomach Ulcers explains the condition that open sores are formed anywhere in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum (the first part of small intestine). It occurs when stomach acids reduce the digestive tract’s protective layer of mucus. The word “peptic” refers to any problem caused by acid.
There is not just a particular cause for ulcers; however, the common causes of peptic ulcer are considered the infections are occurred by a type of bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and those are caused due to use of some medications decreasing severity of pains and swelling (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen etc. Also, the amount of acid is increased due to Ellison syndrome that affect the stomach’s acid-producing cells.
A peptic Ulcer may have symptoms or not. However, the main symptoms for peptic ulcer usually appear immediately after eating food or when stomach is empty and patient is hunger (often between meals) as the acids make the pain sever and worse. However, the pain may be felt at any time during a day or night. The pain duration is not clear and may last from some minutes to even several hours. It is recommended to take food and fluids as well as the antacid medicines to improve the symptoms.
Here, the most common symptoms for peptic ulcer are provided. They may include the following:
- Blood in the stool or black stool
- Struggling to digest fats/ trouble digesting fats/ disability in digesting fats/ difficulty swallowing food
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty breathing
- Appetite changes/ loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
If the peptic ulcer is not treated, some complications may occur. The main of them usually are considered the following:
- Internal bleeding
- Gastric obstruction
- Stomach cancer
- Scar tissue
The patient is examined to diagnose peptic ulcer through some tests including:
- Blood tests
- Breath test
- Stool antigen test
- Upper gastrointestinal (GI) X-ray
Some of the peptic ulcers treat on their own. However, the treatment depends on different features. The most important one is what caused the peptic ulcer. It plays an important role in treatment methods. The main purpose of treatment is to lessen the amount of stomach acids.
Most of the time, the disease is healed during 1-2 months by proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), acid blocking drugs, if the peptic ulcers are not caused by H. pylori infection. But if there is a H. pylori infection, PPIs and antibiotic are usually prescribed. In this case, the treatment usually lasts some days.
And if the disease is caused by NSAIDs, patient must stop taking them and another medicines can be substituted. Also, the treatment can continue by minimizing NSAIDs dosage or even using other medications alongside with NSAID.
In some conditions in which the disease comes back or the peptic ulcers are bleeding etc. the surgery may be needed.
Some of the peptic ulcers cannot be treatable due to:
- Using tobacco products
- Not taking the medicine as prescribed by a doctor
- H. pylori resistance to antibiotics
- Consistent use of painkillers