A peptic ulcer is a sore in the inner lining of the stomach or upper small intestine (duodenum). When the intestine or stomach's protective layer is broken down, ulcers develop. The digestive juices contain hydrochloric acid and an enzyme called pepsin that can damage the intestine or stomach tissue. These can also injure the esophagus. There are various treatments that cure peptic ulcers the symptoms of which go away quickly.
Gastric ulcers are one form of peptic ulcers that are formed in the stomach. Those that form in the upper small intestine are called duodenal ulcers.
Causes of peptic ulcers:
The two most common causes of peptic ulcers are:
Use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's)
Infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
Peptic ulcer is caused when H. pylori and NSAID's break down the stomach or intestine's protective mucus layer which produces digestive juices from damaging the organs.
Symptoms of peptic ulcer:
The most common symptoms of peptic ulcer are burning pain between the navel and the breastbone. Some people also have back pain. The pain can last for a few hours and again come back to last for weeks. Some sufferers of peptic ulcer may experience loss of appetite and weight loss, vomiting, bloating or nausea. Black stools may be another symptom and these symptoms vary from one person to another.
Diagnosis of peptic ulcers:
Some simple tests relating to the use of blood, breath or stool will show signs of peptic ulcer if it exists. Doctors may also look for signs of H. pylori infection. An endoscopy test may also be performed by a gastroenterologist. Small areas of tissue may also be removed for ruling out stomach cancer.
How are they treated?
Most people will be prescribed medicines that reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. You may have to take antibiotics if you have an H. pylori infection. Quitting smoking and alcohol can better your chances of recovery from peptic ulcer. Use of medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen for a long term may lead to peptic ulcer.
You should not in any case ignore symptoms of an ulcer. You have to treat the symptoms which can go away in a short time with the right amount of medication. If left untreated, Peptic ulcer can become fatal. Even after treatment, some ulcers may recur and you may have to continue treatment for a long time.
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