peptic ulcer, also known as ulcus pepticum, PUD or peptic ulcer
disease, is an ulcer of an area of the gastrointestinal tract that
is usually acidic and thus extremely painful. As many as 80% of
ulcers are associated with Helicobacter pylori, a spiral-shaped
bacterium that lives in the acidic environment of the stomach.
major causative factor is chronic inflammation due to bacteria.
The immune system is unable to clear the infection, despite
the appearance of antibodies. Thus, the bacterium can cause
a chronic active gastritis.
Another major cause is the use of NSAIDs . The gastric mucosa
protects itself from gastric acid with a layer of mucus, the
secretion of which is stimulated by certain prostaglandins.
Due to increased medical treatment, a greater proportion of
ulcers will be due to increasing NSAID use among individuals
with pain syndromes as well as the growth of aging populations
that develop arthritis.
The incidence of duodenal ulcers has dropped significantly during
the last 30 years, while the incidence of gastric ulcers has
shown a small increase, mainly caused by the widespread use
Tobacco smoking leads to atherosclerosis and vascular spasms,
causing vascular insufficiency and promoting the development
of ulcers through ischemia. Gastrinomas, rare gastrin-secreting
tumors, also cause multiple and difficult to heal ulcers.
There is an association between heavy alcohol use and the development
of peptic ulcer disease.
Abdominal pain, classically epigastric with severity relating
to mealtimes, after around 3 hours of taking a meal (duodenal
ulcers are classically relieved by food, while gastric ulcers
are exacerbated by it).
Bloating and abdominal fullness.
Waterbrash (rush of saliva after an episode of regurgitation
to dilute the acid in esophagus).
Nausea and copious vomiting.
Loss of appetite and weight loss.
Hematemesis (vomiting of blood); this can occur due to bleeding
directly from a gastric ulcer, or from damage to the esophagus
from severe/continuing vomiting.
Melena (tarry, foul-smelling feces due to oxidized iron from
Gastric or duodenal perforation, rarely, an ulcer can lead to
it. This is extremely painful and requires immediate surgery.
A history of heartburn, gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
and use of certain forms of medication can raise the suspicion
for peptic ulcer. Medicines associated with peptic ulcer include
there is no apparent explanation for the development of an ulcer.
However, it is known that smoking, heavy alcohol intake especially
spirits and certain medicines such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory
drugs form ulcers.
If you are being treated for a peptic ulcer, your doctor will
likely prescribe medicines and encourage you to try some home
treatment methods. To stop symptoms and help an ulcer heal,
Try nonprescription medicines that reduce acid production.
Make sure you tell your doctor about any medicines you are
changes to your diet, such as eating smaller, more frequent
meals. These changes may improve your symptoms, but they
will not help your ulcer heal.