A Complete Guide to Peptic Ulcers

A burning sensation or discomfort while eating is a general indicator of peptic ulcer. Commonly occurring among adults, peptic ulcers refer to open sores formed inside the lining of the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. These sores occur when the acid present in the stomach scrapes out the protective mucus layer and exposes the inner lining. The acid gets in contact with the inner layer of the stomach or the small intestine, thus causing a burning pain and discomfort to the individual.

Peptic ulcers can cause the sores to get constantly inflamed when the proper treatment is not given. If left untreated, peptic ulcers can cause numerous complications like internal bleeding, abdominal cavity infections, and obstructions in the digestive tract. Patients with peptic ulcers should undergo the proper screening and treatment procedures at nearby low income clinics as soon as possible, to prevent further complications.

Causes

Peptic ulcers occur chiefly when the acid present in the digestive juices corrodes the mucus lining that protects the inner stomach. This leads to the development of sores, which expose the inner lining of the stomach, causing pain and bleeding. An increase in the acid produced or decrease in the mucus lining can result in the development of peptic ulcers.

Besides, the presence of certain bacteria known as the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is another leading cause of peptic ulcers. It is a normally present bacterium in the mucus cavity that can also trigger inflammation in the inner layer of the stomach. The intake of specific types of pain relievers such as aspirin and other prescription painkillers can also cause irritation of the stomach lining.

Symptoms

Burning stomach pain is the key symptom of a peptic ulcer. This is because the sores allow the acid to become exposed to the delicate stomach lining. It causes the inner lining to become inflamed, thus causing a burning pain. Individuals having peptic ulcers also have a frequent feeling of fullness, bloating, and belching.

The presence of heartburn or nausea is also another indicator of peptic ulcers. For severe cases, there will be vomiting or blood in the stool. Changes in appetite may also occur for individuals affected with a severe peptic ulcer.

Diagnosis

Peptic ulcers are diagnosed at health clinics by carrying out various imaging tests. Most doctors carry out a procedure known as upper endoscopy to check and verify peptic ulcers. This test involves the insertion of a thin tube containing a camera into the stomach via the throat. The images obtained are then evaluated to identify ulcers in the inner stomach and small intestine.

Upper gastrointestinal (GI) is another imaging procedure used to validate peptic ulcers. In this procedure, the individual is made to drink barium and an X-ray image is taken from the stomach region. The barium will highlight the stomach and intestine, making it easier for the doctor to study the results and suggest the proper treatment.