Peptic Ulcer Disease, also known by the general population as a stomach ulcer, is a condition that affects 1 in 10 people at some point throughout their lives. Today, we will discuss the different types of ulcers as well as symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options available.
There are two different types of ulcers: duodenal and gastric. Duodenal ulcers occur in the first part of the small intestine, which is called the duodenum, while gastric ulcers occur in the gastric body or the stomach. There are a variety of causes that can lead to ulcer formation. These causes include bacteria by the name of Helicobacter Pylori or H. Pylori, alcohol, smoking, coffee, acidic foods, and the use of NSAIDs. Acidic foods are now considered to worsen an already formed ulcer rather than contributing to the formation of an ulcer. Stress, per the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), which was once thought to possibly cause ulcers, has in fact been studied and proven otherwise. The ACG has reported that the vast majority of diagnosed ulcers are in fact due to the bacteria, H. Pylori.
Symptoms of ulcers can vary, while some report no symptoms whatsoever and the ulcer is only detected after an endoscopy. Symptoms are epigastric (upper abdomen) pain, nausea, vomiting, decrease in appetite, and a worsening of pain after eating. In severe cases, when the ulcer is bleeding, you can vomit blood or have black stools. If the ulcer progressively worsens without proper treatment, in rare instances, ulcers can in fact rupture through the stomach wall causing sudden, severe pain. This is considered a medical emergency and seeking immediate treatment is encouraged.
Diagnosis involves presenting an overview of current symptoms with a physician and discussing the possibility of further evaluations in the form of blood work and possibly an endoscopy. H. Pylori can be detected through stool, breath, blood or biopsy during an endoscopy. Endoscopy is also an excellent diagnostic tool, which involves a small scope passing through your mouth, into the esophagus, entering the stomach and finally, the duodenum. After the diagnostic phase, treatment can be determined.
If H. Pylori is indeed the cause, a combination of antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) will be the preferred treatment plan. However, if it is a non-bleeding ulcer without H. Pylori as the main cause, a PPI or H2 blocker will be prescribed. PPIs and H2 blockers decrease the amount of acid in the stomach, which in turn allows the ulcer to heal. Antiemetics can also be prescribed if the ulcer is causing nausea and vomiting. If it is a bleeding ulcer, many gastroenterologists can stop the bleeding during an endoscopy.
If you are having any of the above symptoms, you can consult with Shifa4U online doctor from anywhere in Pakistan or visit Shifa4U to order lab test of stomach ulcer from top laboratories of Pakistan or you can call us on 042-111-748-748 and get tested at the comfort of your home.