Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside lining of your stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine. The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is stomach pain.

The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is stomach pain.


Peptic ulcers include.


• Gastric ulcers that occur on the inside of the stomach


• Duodenal ulcers that occur on the inside of the upper portion of your small intestine (duodenum)


Causes


The most common causes of peptic ulcers include:


• Infection with the bacterium Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori).


• Long term uses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).


• Stress and spicy food do not cause ulcers, but they can worsen the symptoms.


Symptoms


• Burning stomach pain


• Heartburn


• Feeling of fullness and bloating


• Nausea Vomiting of blood which may appear red or black.

• Stool that are black and tarry

• Feeling faint


• Unexplained weight loss


• Appetite changes


The pain can be relieved by taking an acid reducing medicine but then it may come back.



Complications


If ulcers are not treated, they may lead to following complications.


• Internal bleeding. This may cause vomiting of blood or black or bloody stool.


• A hole (perforation) in the stomach wall. This may lead to infection of the abdominal cavity (peritonitis)


• Obstruction. Peptic ulcers can block passage of food through the digestive tract.


• Gastric cancer



Prevention


You may reduce your risk of peptic ulcer by adapting the following strategies.


• Use caution with pain relievers. Avoid pain relievers NSAIDs whenever possible. If you must use NSAIDS, work with your doctor to find the lowest possible that gives relief and takes these medications with meals.



• Protect yourself with infections. It is unclear how H. Pylori spreads, but you may take steps to protect by frequent hand washing with soap and water and by eating foods that have been cooked properly.


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