Peptic ulcer disease is defined as a lesion that corrodes the skin or mucous membranes. Ulcers can have different causes, so there are different types that have different names depending on their location.
Ulcers on the skin are usually due to irritation, as in the case of pressure sores, which can become inflamed and/or infected as they grow. Ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract can be attributed to stress, but most are now thought to be due to an infection with the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. However, gastrointestinal ulcers are often made worse by stress, smoking, and other non-infectious factors.
The treatment of this type of injury depends on the type of condition that occurs and its location, so the gastro doctor will always have the last word on the measures that must be taken to ensure the cure of this type of health condition.
What exactly is a peptic ulcer disease?
A peptic ulcer disease is a sore or hole that develops in the stomach or intestine. The word “peptic” refers to the digestive tract. Gastric ulcers refer to ulcers that appear in the stomach lining. An ulcer in the first part of the small intestine is called duodenal. The stomach lining is a layer of special cells and mucous membranes.
Mucous membranes prevent the stomach and duodenum from being damaged by digestive enzymes and acids. If there is a break in the lining (such as in the case of an ulcer), the tissue under the lining can be damaged by enzymes and corrosive acid.
If the ulcer is small, there may be some symptoms. The wound can heal itself. If the injury is deep, it can cause severe pain or bleeding.
Peptic ulcers are very common, and they become more common with advancing age. The common cause of peptic ulcers is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. The bacterium Helicobacter pylori are thought to cause most peptic ulcers. This bacteria causes inflammation in the stomach lining, making it vulnerable. A minority of people infected with Helicobacter pylori develop these types of ulcer problems.
What is the reason behind a peptic ulcer disease?
Peptic ulcers occur when acid in the digestive tract erodes the inner surface of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine. The acid can create an open, painful wound that can bleed.
Your digestive tract is lined with a mucous layer that normally protects against acid. But if the amount of acid is increased, or if the amount of mucus is decreased, an ulcer can develop.
The most common causes of peptic ulcer disease include:
- A bacterium – Helicobacter pylori bacteria normally live in the mucus layer that covers and protects the tissues lining the stomach and small intestine. Often, H. pylori does not cause any problems, but it can cause inflammation of the inner layer of the stomach, producing an injury. It is unclear how H. pylori appear. It can be passed from person to person through close contact, such as kissing. People can also get H. pylori from food and water. In humans, H pylori can survive chronically because of an overall downregulation of the body’s immune response. Besides this overall effect on the immune system, clinical and epidemiological studies suggest that H. Pylori infection may protect against some autoimmune diseases.
- Regular use of some pain relievers – Certain pain relievers can irritate or inflame the lining of the stomach and small intestine. Aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc. ), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, etc. ), ketoprofen, and others are among these medications. Those who take these pain medications frequently or for osteoarthritis are more likely to develop peptic ulcer disease.
- Other medicines – Other prescription drugs that can also lead to injuries include drugs used to treat osteoporosis called bisphosphonates (Actonel, Fosamax, others) and potassium supplements.
What is it like to have a peptic ulcer?
Most people with ulcers complain of burning pain in their upper abdomen. It is a common symptom of an ulcer when the stomach is empty. These symptoms can get worse at night or when you wake up. However, some people’s pain can get worse when they eat.
Other stomach ulcer symptoms include:
- loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Some of these symptoms can be relieved by antacids or by avoiding spicy or acidic foods.
In general, symptoms worsen when the lesion grows larger, or when more than one ulcer develops.
Some people with mild illness do not have any intestine ulcer symptoms. The ulcer may bleed or extend deep into the stomach or intestine wall in more severe cases. Bleeding from large lesions can be fatal. Blood may appear in vomit. It may appear red or black, or resemble coffee grounds. Blood can also appear in the stool, which looks tarry black or brown.
Peritonitis is a very serious abdominal infection. This can develop if the ulcer erodes completely through the wall of the stomach or intestine.
What is the best way to treat peptic ulcer disease?
For ulcers caused by H. pylori, treatment requires a combination of drugs. The goals of treatment are:
- Kill the H. pylori bacteria
- Reduce the amount of stomach acid
- Protect the stomach and intestinal linings
Most patients are treated with “triple therapy”. This requires taking two antibiotics and an acid-suppressing medication for one to two weeks. According to convenience, cost, and any allergies gastro specialist will prescribe a specific regimen.
You will need to stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) if your ulcer developed while you were taking them. Healing will begin almost immediately. Your doctor will also recommend medications to reduce acid damage during healing. These may include antacids to neutralize stomach acids, but medicines that decrease the amount of acid produced by the stomach may also be used. Proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers are a few examples.
Emergency treatment may be necessary if an ulcer causes severe bleeding. This peptic ulcer treatment is usually performed through an endoscope. Acid blocking medicines can be given intravenously (injected into a vein). If bleeding is severe, blood transfusions may be required.
In rare cases, surgery may be needed to treat a peptic ulcer that is perforated or when there is bleeding. Surgery for peptic ulcer disease may involve stopping bleeding from an artery.
Surgery is rarely needed to treat peptic ulcers these days because treatments for H. pylori infections and other causes of injury are successful. An injury can temporarily heal without antibiotics. If the bacteria are not killed, an ulcer may recur or another may form nearby.
Can an ulcer heal completely?
An ulcer caused by medication should begin to heal soon after you stop taking the drug. Antacid medications can be used for two to six weeks to help heal and relieve pain.
After the bacteria are killed, ulcers caused by H.pylori can heal.
Typically, you will be given antibiotics along with acid-suppressing medications for two weeks. Then you can take the acid-suppressing medication for another four to eight weeks. The healing of duodenal ulcers is faster than that of gastric ulcers. It takes two to three months for uncomplicated gastric ulcers to heal completely. It takes about six weeks for duodenal ulcers to heal completely.
An ulcer can temporarily heal without antibiotics. There is a high probability of an ulcer recurring or of another ulcer developing nearby if the bacteria are not killed.
Is peptic ulcer preventable?
Peptic ulcers are usually not preventable the first time around. H. pylori infection is extremely common and is likely to be transmitted from person to person. Crowded spaces seem to be a risk factor. Good hygiene can limit the spread of H. pylori. This includes washing your hands thoroughly before eating and after using the toilet. Generally, recurrent H. pylori ulcers can be prevented if you start the appropriate treatment for your first ulcer. This should include antibiotics that kill bacteria.
You can help prevent peptic ulcers by:
- avoid smoking
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol
- Limit the use of NSAIDs for pain