Peptic Ulcer Disease: Overview, Types, Causes, Signs And Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention And Complications

Peptic Ulcer Disease: Overview, Types, Causes, Signs And Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention And Complications

Peptic ulcers are open sores/lesions that develop on the inside lining of your stomach and the upper

portion of your small intestine. The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is stomach pain.

They’re usually formed as a result of inflammation caused by the bacteria H. pylori, as well as from erosion from stomach acids. Peptic ulcers are a fairly common health problem.

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Types Of Peptic Ulcers

There are three types of peptic ulcers:

  • gastric ulcers: ulcers that develop inside the stomach
  • esophageal ulcers: ulcers that develop inside the esophagus
  • duodenal ulcers: ulcers that develop in the upper section of the small intestines, called the duodenum
Peptic Ulcer Disease: Overview, Types, Causes, Signs And Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention And Complications

Causes Of Peptic Ulcers

Different factors can cause the lining of the stomach, the esophagus, and the small intestine to break down. These include:

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a type of bacteria that can cause a stomach infection and inflammation
  • frequent use of aspirin (Bayer), ibuprofen (Advil), and other anti-inflammatory drugs (risk associated with this behavior increases in women and people over the age of 60)

Risk Factors

  • smoking
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • radiation therapy
  • stomach cancer

Signs and symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers

  • Burning stomach pain
  • Feeling of fullness, bloating or belching
  • Intolerance to fatty foods
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea

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The most common peptic ulcer symptom is burning stomach pain. Stomach acid makes the pain worse, as does having an empty stomach. The pain can often be relieved by eating certain foods that buffer stomach acid or by taking an acid-reducing medication, but then it may come back. The pain may be worse between meals and at night.

Peptic Ulcer Disease: Overview, Types, Causes, Signs And Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention And Complications

Many people with peptic ulcers don’t even have symptoms. Less often, ulcers may cause severe signs or symptoms such as:

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  • Vomiting or vomiting blood — which may appear red or black
  • Dark blood in stools, or stools that are black or tarry
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling faint
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Appetite changes

Prevention Of Peptic Ulcers

You may reduce your risk of peptic ulcer if you follow the same strategies recommended as home remedies to treat ulcers. It also may be helpful to:

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  • Protect yourself from infections. It’s not clear just how H. pylori spreads, but there’s some evidence that it could be transmitted from person to person or through food and water. You can take steps to protect yourself from infections, such as H. pylori, by frequently washing your hands with soap and water and by eating foods that have been cooked completely.
  • Use caution with pain relievers. If you regularly use pain relievers that increase your risk of peptic ulcer, take steps to reduce your risk of stomach problems. For instance, take your medication with meals.Work with your doctor to find the lowest dose possible that still gives you pain relief.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol when taking your medication, since the two can combine to increase your risk of stomach upset.
  • If you need an NSAID, you may need to also take additional medications such as an antacid, a proton pump inhibitor, an acid blocker or cytoprotective agent. A class of NSAIDs called COX-2 inhibitors may be less likely to cause peptic ulcers, but may increase the risk of heart attack.

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Complications Of Peptic Ulcers

Left untreated, peptic ulcers can result in:

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  • Internal bleeding. Bleeding can occur as slow blood loss that leads to anemia or as severe blood loss that may require hospitalization or a blood transfusion. Severe blood loss may cause black or bloody vomit or black or bloody stools.
  • A hole (perforation) in your stomach wall. Peptic ulcers can eat a hole through (perforate) the wall of your stomach or small intestine, putting you at risk of serious infection of your abdominal cavity (peritonitis).
  • Obstruction. Peptic ulcers can block passage of food through the digestive tract, causing you to become full easily, to vomit and to lose weight either through swelling from inflammation or through scarring.
  • Gastric cancer. Studies have shown that people infected with H. pylori have an increased risk of gastric cancer.

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