Peptic Ulcer Disease

What is Peptic Ulcer Disease?

Peptic Ulcer Disease is caused by the formation of ulcers in the first few sections of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, the stomach and the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine).

There are 3 types of peptic ulcers:

Gastric Ulcers-these form inside the stomach

Esophageal Ulcers-these form inside the esophagus

Duodenal Ulcers-these form inside first section of the small intestine.

The most common symptom of an ulcer is pain or burning in the affected area, but other, more serious, symptoms can include:

  • Bloating
  • Heartburn/GERD
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Dark blood in stool
  • Vomiting blood

If you experience persistent pain, burning, or any of these more severe symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately.

If peptic ulcers are left untreated, they can result in serious complications, including:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Scarring and strictures

Peritonitis (A serious infection of the abdominal cavity)

Peptic ulcers are created when your body’s natural digestive acids burn the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine away. There are several risk factors that can make this more likely to happen.

They include:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Excessive drinking
  • Use of NSAID painkillers, such as Aspirin,Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), and Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, some types of Midol, others)
  • A previous illness
  • Certain osteoporosis medications (Actonel, Fosamax, and other bisphosphonates)
  • Use of potassium supplements
  • Radiation treatment for a previous illness
  • H. Pylori Bacteria that commonly lives in the lining of the stomach and small intestine. On occasion, it can cause inflammation of the stomach, producing an ulcer.

To confirm a diagnosis of peptic ulcers, your doctor may recommend one of several tests, including:

  • H. Pylori Bacteria can be detected using blood, breath, and stool tests.
  • Upper Endoscopy
  • X-rays of the upper digestive system

Treatment will depend on the cause of the ulcers. Some treatment options include:

  • Antibiotics – used if the ulcers are caused by H. pylori. If antibiotics are used, your doctor is likely to also recommend a medication to reduce stomach acid while the ulcers heal.
  • Proton pump inhibitors – Medications that reduce stomach acid by blocking its production on a cellular level. Examples of proton pump inhibitors include:
    • Omeprazole (Prilosec)
    • Lansoprozale (Prevacid)
    • Rabeprazole (Aciphex)
    • Esomeprazole (Nexium)
    • Pantoprazole (Protonix)
  • Acid Blockers – Or histamine blockers, these medications reduce the amount of stomach acid released into the digestive tract. Examples of acid blockers include:
    • Ranitidine (Zantac)
    • Famotidine (Pepcid)
    • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
    • Nizatidine (Axid)
  • Antacids – Medications that neutralize existing stomach acid. They provide fast pain relief, but are not generally used as a primary treatment for ulcers.
  • Cytoprotective agents – Medications that protect the lining of the stomach and the small intestine. Examples of cytoprotective agents include:
    • Sucralfate (Carafate)
    • Misoprostol (Cytotec)
    • Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap