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Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper portions of the small intestine (duodenum). A peptic ulcer is commonly caused by a bacterial infection. One in three Hongkongers was estimated to be infected with the bacteria that could lead to peptic ulcers. Read to learn more about the symptoms and causes of peptic ulcer disease.
Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop in the lining of the digestive tract. The mucus lining that coats the digestive tract is responsible for protecting against acid. The word “peptic” means the cause of the problem is due to acid. When there is an imbalance between stomach acid production and mucus production by the lining of the digestive tract, it can lead to the formation of a painful open sore, resulting in a peptic ulcer.
Peptic ulcers are named according to the locations of their occurrence: esophageal ulcers develop in the lower part of the esophagus, gastric ulcers develop in the stomach and duodenal ulcers develop in the upper portions of the small intestine (duodenum).
Peptic ulcer may or may not have any symptoms depending on the severity of the patient’s condition. Some common symptoms include
You should seek urgent medical advice if you experience a sudden and worsening sharp abdominal pain, vomiting blood or passing dark and tar-like stools. As these could be a sign of serious complications, such as bleeding from peptic ulcers.
Peptic ulcers to occur when the protective mucus lining breaks down, which allows the stomach acid to damage the mucus lining. The common causes include:
Peptic ulcers are more likely to present in those with the following risk factors:
Peptic ulcer may be suspected based on the symptoms and other associated risk factors. If doctors suspect the symptoms are caused by an H. pylori infection, they may recommend the following tests:
Treatment of peptic ulcers depends on the underlying cause of the ulcers.
If H. pylori infection was confirmed, doctors will usually prescribe a two-week-course of eradication therapy with
If the peptic ulcers disease is caused by the use of NSAIDs, the NSAIDs should be withdrawn if possible and added in a one-to two-month course of
If the peptic ulcer is caused by a combination of using NSAIDs and H.pylori infection, doctors will usually prescribe:
It is important to Inform your doctor your medical history and other drugs that you are taking as some medications may interact with peptic ulcer medications, and some medical conditions warrant special precautionary measures.
Complications of peptic ulcers are relatively uncommon, but they can be very serious if left untreated. Which includes:
You can reduce your risk of developing peptic ulcer by:
Peptic ulcers occur when the protective mucus lining breaks down, which allows the stomach acid to damage the mucus lining. The predominant causes of peptic ulcer disease are infection with Helicobacter pylori and the long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
A peptic ulcer is curable. Management options will be different depending on the cause of the peptic ulcer. Antibiotics can cure most peptic ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori infection. Usually, a test will be repeated at least 4 weeks after completing the antibiotic course to ensure the bacteria has been eradicated. Other medications including proton pump inhibitors (PPI) or Histamine-2 receptor antagonists are also used in NSAIDs-induced peptic ulcers.
Peptic ulcers may recur if the underlying cause is not eliminated or treated. Therefore it is important to seek medical advice and avoid leaving the underlying cause untreated. If left untreated, peptic ulcers can lead to serious complications such as internal bleeding, perforation of the ulcer, and gastric outlet obstruction.
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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