Duodenal ulcer

What is a duodenal ulcer?

Duodenal ulcer is a type of peptic ulcer that forms in the duodenum or duodenum, the beginning of the small intestine that secretes intestinal juice.

Peptic ulcers are compromised areas in the lining of the duodenum and stomach that lead to abdominal pain, possible bleeding, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

What are the causes?

The most common cause of a duodenal ulcer is a stomach infection caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H.Pylori).

Other risk factors for duodenal ulcer are excessive alcohol use, smoking and taking drugs such as aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs /NSAIDs.

Severe illnesses and radiation therapy are also risk factors for duodenal mucosal damage.

What are the symptoms of a duodenal ulcer?

Symptoms may occur daily or occasionally. Sometimes it is possible that the manifestations are very aggravated.

Abdominal bloating is a common symptom of duodenal ulcer. This is due to the inflammatory processes in the stomach and duodenum, which can cause the accumulation of gases and fluids in these areas. This discomfort can be disruptive and worsen after eating.

Frequent belching is another characteristic symptom of duodenal ulcer. Patients often describe the sensation as burning or pain in the upper abdomen after eating.

This discomfort can be particularly unpleasant and disruptive, affecting daily activities and quality of life.

Lack of appetite is common in people with duodenal ulcers. Illness and abdominal pain often reduce the desire for food. This can lead to reduced food consumption and, therefore, weight loss.

Nausea is another symptom that can be associated with a duodenal ulcer. It can manifest itself as a general feeling of discomfort or be accompanied by vomiting.

Nausea may be due to irritation of the stomach and duodenum, which occurs due to disturbances in the balance of hydrochloric acid.

Unexplained weight loss is also a common symptom of duodenal ulcer. Weight loss is usually the result of reduced food consumption due to pain and nausea, as well as impaired absorption of nutrients due to damaged duodenal mucosa.

A burning sensation in the stomach is another symptom that duodenal ulcer patients often report.

Patients and their relatives should be especially careful and seek immediate medical attention if the following symptoms occur:

  • Bloody stools: Bloody stools can be red in color, black or pitch black. This is a serious indicator of bleeding in the upper digestive tract and requires urgent evaluation and treatment.
  • Very severe cutting pain in the abdominal area: The intense pain, especially if it is located in the upper part of the abdomen, may be a sign of perforation of the stomach or duodenum. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate surgical intervention.
  • Vomiting blood: Vomiting blood can be the result of bleeding in the stomach and is a serious symptom that requires prompt medical attention .

Treatment of duodenal ulcer

Treatment begins with establishing the cause of your complaints. In this regard, the doctor will assign you tests, which will allow him to make the correct diagnosis.

Treatment with antibiotics

If the duodenal ulcer is caused by the infection with the bacterium H.Pylori, antibiotic therapy is administered. It is important to adhere strictly to your prescribed treatment regimen to avoid reinfection.

Most often, two antibiotics are prescribed, which are taken for 14 days. Antibiotics that may be prescribed are tetracycline, clarithromycin, metronidazole or amoxicycline.

Medications such as proton pump inhibitors and histamine H2-receptor antagonists, which reduce the amount of stomach acid, can also be effective treatments for duodenal ulcers.

Proton pump inhibitors that are effective in the treatment of duodenal ulcer are:

  • Omeprazole;
  • Pantoprazole;
  • Rabeprazole;
  • Lansoprazole;
  • Esomeprazole.

A histamine H2-receptor antagonists that are effective are:

  • Cimetidine;
  • Famotidine;
  • Nizatidine;
  • Ranitidine;

In case of diarrhea and vomiting, an element of treatment should be replenishing the water-electrolyte balance of the body by taking plenty of fluids and electrolyte solutions .

How to reduce the risk of infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori?

  • Maintain excellent personal hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water when eating and preparing food for consumption and especially after handling dirty diapers or after using the toilet.

What are the possible complications of a duodenal ulcer?

You can help reduce the risk of serious complications by strictly following your prescribed regimen of treatment. Possible complications are:

  • Internal hemorrhage;
  • Perforation of the ulcer, which causes leakage of intestinal contents and subsequent infection of the abdomen. Bleeding at the perforation is also possible.
  • Severe discomfort and severe excruciating pain;

Foods to avoid when diagnosed?

  • Spicy foods, chocolate, black pepper;
  • Acid foods such as citrus fruits, vinegar, pineapple and tomatoes can also exacerbate symptoms.

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