What is an Esophageal Ulcer?


A hole in the lining of the esophagus corroded by the acidic digestive juices secreted by the stomach cells. Ulcer formation is related to H. pyloridus bacteria in the stomach, anti-inflammatory medications, and smoking cigarettes. Ulcer pain may not correlate with the presence or severity of ulceration. Diagnosis is made with barium x-ray or endoscopy. Complications of ulcers include bleeding and perforation. Treatment involves antibiotics to eradicate H. pyloridus, eliminating risk factors, and preventing complications.

An esophageal ulcer is a hole in the lining of the esophagus corroded by the acidic digestive juices secreted by the stomach cells. An esophageal ulcer is usually located in the lower section of your esophagus. It is often associated with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Not long ago, the common belief was that peptic ulcers were a result of lifestyle. Doctors now know that a bacterial infection or some medications — not stress or diet — cause most ulcers of the stomach and upper part of the small intestine (duodenum).

Esophageal Ulcers are defined as open sores or lesions in the lining of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach). These ulcers usually cause pain that is felt behind or just below your breastbone, similar to the area where you would feel heartburn symptoms. Healing is slow and these ulcers can recur quite often. Chronic and severe recurrences can result in a narrowing of your esophagus after healing.

Some of the symptoms of Esophageal Ulcers include heartburn, inflammation of the esophagus. A slight bleeding may occur, vomiting blood that is bright red in color or coffee ground black and dark, tarry stools. This type of stool condition is called melena. Should your esophageal bleeding be rapid then the blood discharge in the stools will be a bright red color.

Esophageal ulcers can appear as a consequence of gastro-esophageal reflux, mainly in association with hiatal hernias. Although not frequent, the appearance of these ulcers identifies those with severe gastro-esophageal reflux. The presence of hiatal hernia in the case described here was, apparently, a confusing factor in the establishment of a definitive diagnosis. Due to the hernia, the presence of the esophageal ulcer was attributed to gastro-esophageal reflux disease and not to the use of alendronate.

Other symptoms of Esophageal Ulcers can include nausea, abdominal indigestion and abdominal cramping. This abdominal pain can awaken you at night, it can be relieved by antacids or milk, you may feel the pains of the Esophageal Ulcers about 2 to3 hours after eating and sometimes these pains can become worse if you do not eat any food.

Esophageal ulceration induced HIF-1? protein expression and VEGF gene activation reflected by increased VEGF mRNA (240%) and VEGF protein (310%) levels. HIF-1? protein was expressed in microvessels bordering necrosis where it co-localized with VEGF. Injection of cDNA encoding VEGF165 significantly enhanced angiogenesis and accelerated esophageal ulcer healing. These results: 1) suggest that HIF-1? may mediate esophageal ulceration-triggered VEGF gene activation, 2) indicate an essential role of VEGF and angiogenesis in esophageal ulcer healing, and 3) demonstrate the feasibility of gene therapy for the treatment of esophageal ulcers.

Late complications of the esophagus treated with radiation therapy, especially with intraluminal brachytherapy. We encountered a patient with esophageal cancer treated with external radiation therapy and intraluminal brachytherapy, who developed radiation ulcer and who had severe dysphagia soon after endoscopic biopsy of the ulcer edge. A 55-year-old man was diagnosed as esophageal cancer without symptoms.