Duodenal ulcer
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With today’s fast-paced world, people are constantly running here and there, working hard to catch today’s deadlines. If they hear their stomach grumbling, they would probably just grab a cup of coffee since stepping out to take lunch would be wasting precious time. But beware. Sometimes, that stomach grumbling is so much more than an indication of hunger. The stomach pain may be telling you that you have developed an ulcer.


Having an ulcer is a fairly common problem. It is highly treatable so there’s no need to be afraid.

Now, if you are going to save yourself from the pain caused by ulcers, you would first need to know exactly what ulcers are.

Basically, an ulcer is a sore in the lining of your intestines. An ulcer is a part/ place in your gut where there the lining has thinned, causing the underlying tissues to get exposed to your body’s acids. Usually, the ulcer occurs in the upper part of your intestine, the duodenum. This is usually termed as duodenal ulcer.

An ulcer will have an appearance of a small crater. The crater is usually ¼ - ¾ inches wide. However, in severe cases, the ulcer may be as wide as two inches.

Having an ulcer involves the thinning of the guts’ lining and this leads many people to assume that the condition occurs as a result of having too much acid in the body. People usually think that the ulcer is caused by excessive bodily acids corroding the duodenal lining. That is not really the case. In fact, many people with duodenal ulcer have perfectly normal acid levels.


As a matter of fact, duodenal ulcer is usually a result of various factors. Once an ulcer has developed, the stomach lining will be vulnerable to normal levels of body acids.

So what factors duodenal ulcer? For 19 out of 20 cases, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the culprit. This type of bacteria causes infections that weakens the protection of your guts and allows the acids to eat away at the lining. The H. pylori is a bacterium that is spiral-shaped. It can twist through the mucus lining that is supposed to protect the stomach. Once it twists through the lining, it attaches itself to the stomach wall. In order to thrive in the harsh environment, H. pylori needs to neutralize the strong acids. To do this, it releases a substance called urease. Eventually, the H. pylori will lead to thinning in the duodenal lining. So now, the duodenum is unprotected from the acids. This will lead to inflammations ,as well as the poisoning of nearby cells.


Sometimes, anti-inflammatory medicines for arthritis, muscular pain can affect the lining of your intestines and cause the acids to create ulcers. These drugs are called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen will affect the body’s ability to produce mucus that will protect the stomach and the intestines. Also, NSAIDs interferes with the production of bicarbonate, a substance that tames the acids and breaks them down into less harmful forms. NSAIDs will also affect the blood flow to the stomach and the intestine. This will decrease the body’s healing abilities and leave the stomach and intestine even more defenseless.
duodenal ulcer
Image: Duodenal ulcer

Smoking, drinking and coffee consumption may also worsen an ulcer. Smoking affects the gut’s ability to heal. On the other hand, caffeine increases the body’s acid production. Meanwhile, alcohol delays the haling of ulcers.

Since duodenal ulcer essentially involves powerful acids corroding an exposed and unprotected part of your gut, the natural symptom would involve abdominal pain. This pain may be especially intensified a few hours after eating and also during sleep. Depending on the size of the ulcer, the pain can sometimes be enough to keep you from sleeping. You may also develop nausea.

If the ulcer if left untreated, it may lead to bleeding. The crater or sore will go too deep, coming into contact with blood vessels and casuing blood to be released into the stomach. When this happens, the patient may start vomiting blood. Sometimes, the blood may resemble the look of brown coffee grounds.

Once you feel these symptoms, it would be wise to go to your doctor immediately. To come up with a clear diagnosis, your doctor will perform an endoscopy, a procedure where your doctor uses a long, thin telescope to scan the insides of your stomach and your intestines. From this procedure, a biopsy or a sample of your intestines may be taken and checked for H. pylori. Feces samples or breath tests may also be used to determine presence of the bacteria.


While the endoscopy may leave you feeling like you just slid a sword down your throat, this procedure will save you from developing a more severe case of duodenal ulcer. When it comes down to it, a hole in your intestine is not exactly a pleasant thought. So, how do you stop this from happening?

The key is to address the H. pylori infection. The patient may be advised to take H-2 blockers that will help decrease acid production, allowing the sore to heal better. If you need something more potent, proton-pump inhibitors are ideal. These inhibitors stop the body from performing an acid pump which is the final step in the production of acids. This medication is about 10 times stronger than H-2 blockers. Also, there are mucosal protective agents that will help strengthen the mucus lining’s defenses against the acids.

For best results, antiobiotics must be also be taken instead of relying on simply suppressing the acids. If you don’t take antibiotics, there is a 75% chance that the ulcer will comeback.

To administer antibiotics properly, procedures like triple or dual therapy is applied. The dual therapy includes an antibiotic and an acid suppressant. The triple therapy involves taking two antibiotics along with another pill that will decrease the stomach acids, allowing the antibiotics to do their work. Both therapies last for two weeks. However, the triple therapy is much more effective, having a 90% chance of eradicating the H. pylori in the gut.

To speed up healing and prevent future ulcers from occurring, patients should consider limiting their alcohol and caffeine intake. Dropping that smoking habit may also help.

So, if you want to keep your intestines free from ulcers and the pain that come with them, it is best that you follow your doctor’s instructions to the dot. Be an obedient patient and you can help prevent that ulcer from recurring.
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Medication commonly used for these disease:

drugs Duodenal ulcer drugs