About the condition
Peptic ulcer disease is common. It refers to open sores that develop in the gut lining of the stomach, upper small intestine or oesophagus. The sores develop when the acidic digestive juice secreted by the stomach cells corrode the lining of the organs. The peptic ulcer is named accordingly to its occurrence location; gastric ulcer when it develops in stomach, duodenal ulcer when it develops in the first part of small intestines/duodenum and oesophagus ulcer when it develops at the lower section of oesophagus. Oesophagus ulcers are often associated with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Causes of the condition
The patient’s stomach is infected by bacteria known as Heliocobater pylori (H.pylori), regular use of pain reliever medications, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and stress.
Signs & symptoms
Symptoms may or may not be present. Burning pain or abdominal pain. The pain typically may: be felt anywhere from your navel up to your breastbone, last from a few minutes to several hours, is worse when your stomach is empty, flares at night, is temporarily relieved by eating certain foods that buffer stomach acid or by taking an acid-reducing medication, disappears and then returns after a few days or weeks.
Symptoms that occur less often:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Appetite changes
- Vomiting of blood – appear red or black
Diagnosis and treatment options
Test and diagnosis
- Blood test
- Breathe test
- Stool antigen test
- Barium upper gastrointestinal (upper GI) X-ray
Treatment is a 2 pronged approach:
- Kill the bacteria and reduce the level of acid in your digestive system to relieve pain and encourage healing.
- Medications – antibiotic, acid blockers, antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and cytoprotective agents