Peptic ulcers generally refer to the sores that develop in the lining of your stomach, lower esophagus and small intestine. Peptic ulcers usually develop due to the inflammation caused by the bacterium H. pylori and also due to the erosions from stomach acids.
Peptic Ulcer Types
The common types of peptic ulcers include the following:
Gastric ulcers are the ulcers that generally develop inside your stomach.
These ulcers are commonly seen inside the esophagus.
Ulcers that develop mostly in the upper portion of the small intestine are referred as duodenal ulcer. The upper portion of small intestine is referred as the duodenum.
Peptic Ulcer Causes
There are different factors that are responsible for breakdown of the lining of esophagus, small intestine and stomach. The common factors include:
- Helicobacter pylori infection and inflammation
- Frequent use of medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Excessive smoking
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Radiation therapy
- Stomach cancer
Peptic Ulcer Symptoms
The symptoms associated with peptic ulcers may range from mild to severe. In few rare cases, the small peptic ulcers may not produce any symptoms in the early stages. The most common symptoms associated with peptic ulcers include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Bloody stools
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chest pain
Peptic Ulcer Diagnosis
It is recommended to get yourself diagnose when you experience any symptoms related to peptic ulcers to avoid complications. The common diagnostic tests done to diagnose peptic ulcers include:
During this procedure a long tube with a camera is inserted in your stomach and small intestine. Endoscopy mainly helps in examining your intestine and stomach for the presence of ulcers. With the help of this instrument, you can remove certain tissue samples for diagnosis.
Upper endoscopy is mainly recommended for people who are at higher risk of stomach cancer and people above 45 years of age. This test is also used for people who experience the following conditions like:
- Weight loss
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Difficulty in swallowing
Upper Gastrointestinal test
When you don’t experience difficulty swallowing your food and is at low risk of stomach cancer, this test is generally used. For this diagnostic test, you need to drink barium before the X-ray is done. This thick liquid will help your doctor to visualize and treat peptic ulcers.
Peptic Ulcer Treatment
Peptic ulcer treatment is mainly done by using certain medications to treat infection caused by H. pylori. In most of the cases peptic ulcers gets cured with medicines. Acid blockers are also given to minimize the stomach acid and pain caused due to stomach ulcers.
Peptic Ulcer Prevention
To prevent and minimize the risk of peptic ulcers, you need to make the following lifestyle changes:
- Quit smoking
- Minimize your alcohol intake
- Don’t mix alcohol with any medication and don’t take it at the same time
- Wash your hands properly to avoid the risk of infection
- Limit the use of medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium
- Try to have balanced healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains