Peptic ulcers often occur as a result of an infection by Helicobacter pylori (bacteria that sometimes live in the duodenum and the small intestines). Other causes of peptic ulcer include gastritis (inflammation of the stomach caused by gastric acid reflux), deficiencies of iron, drug abuse, cigarette smoking and obesity. Ulceration affects approximately one percent of the population in the United States. Symptoms include heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, difficulty swallowing, diarrhea and flatulence.
Peptic ulcers can be either internal or external. Internal peptic ulcers occur at the level of the duodenum and usually do not require medical treatment. The treatments for this type of ulcer are antacids (tablets containing active agents that neutralize stomach acids) and histamine receptor blockers (antibiotics) yakumi. Treatment for the external form of peptic ulcer usually involves surgical removal of the ulcer or the use of a hiatal hernia to open the pouch between the duodenum and stomach. Other medications may also be prescribed to lower the level of stomach acid in the esophagus, thus reducing the risk of ulcers.
Peptic ulcers can occur at any time from two to twenty times a year. In some cases, they may recur from time to time. This form of ulcer has a high incidence in children, women over the age of fifty and people with HIV/AIDS. It is more common in people with poor eating habits such as people who eat too much junk food and people who skip meals. It is also more common in people with poor diets like people who are malnourished, who drink too much alcohol and who consume dairy products that are high in fats, sugar and salt. People who have a family history of peptic ulcers are also at a greater risk of developing the disorder.
Peptic ulcers occur when the production of stomach acids goes beyond a normal level. The presence of excess stomach secretions triggers an overproduction of digestive enzymes in order to counteract the effects of excessive stomach acid. When the excess digestive enzyme levels in the blood become too high, they bind to the pepsin inside the stomach causing the ulcer to heal. Peptic ulcers may develop in the upper part of the stomach or even in the duodenum.
Peptic ulcers are more common in people who have diabetes, people with liver disease, people with pericardial tumors and those who are undergoing anticoagulant therapy. Peptic ulcers often occur after a bout of surgery when the stomach is in a state of shock after being administered a potent anesthetic. The exact cause remains unknown, but researchers have speculated that an overproduction of digestive enzymes may be the culprit. Stress also has been linked to peptic ulcers and research is currently underway on ways to find a way to alleviate the stress so that the ulcers do not reappear.
There are a variety of treatments for peptic ulcers depending upon their severity. Milder ulcers can be treated with antacids such as Maalox, Pepcid, or Motrin. More severe ulcers require surgery such as an endoscopic gastric band or duodenal switch. If diet and medication do not alleviate the symptoms, then the doctor may suggest that the affected person undergo a procedure known as duodenal Switching. This procedure involves removing part of the small intestine to allow the duodenum to heal.
Peptic Ulcers often follow a path of drug abuse. These ulcers often occur after people consume aspirin or other medications that weaken their gastrointestinal function. When they stop taking the medications, they are unable to digest foods properly and end up experiencing reflux, belching, nausea, and abdominal discomfort. It is not uncommon for someone who is taking medications to also suffer from recurrent peptic ulcers.
The best way to avoid having recurring ulcers is to take precautions that can help to reduce the risk of developing them in the first place. Taking a vitamin supplement that contains extra Vitamin A, B6, or E is one good way to help prevent the onset of ulcers. Some people will even use herbs that can help to strengthen the immune system in addition to taking medications to prevent ulcers. However, people with a family history of ulcers are more likely to develop them so it is important to note that if you have any of these risk factors you should discuss them with your doctor to make sure that they do not play a role in your health issues.