Peptic ulcer is basically a lesion located at the level of the stomach, duodenum or esophagus. Ulcer tends to affect the entire gastrointestinal tract, starting from the lining of the mouth and ending with the rectal region. Peptic ulcer suggests the involvement of hydrochloric acid and pepsin in the development of the disorder. When gastric acid is produced in excess, the mucosal membrane that protects the stomach and internal organs from danger is damaged, enabling the bacteria Helicobacter pylori to penetrate the barrier and cause internal infections. Therefore, in the case of peptic ulcer, both gastric acid and bacteria are responsible for the development of the disorder.
Peptic ulcer located in the stomach is called gastric ulcer; peptic ulcer located at the level of the duodenum is called duodenal ulcer and peptic ulcer developed at the level of the esophagus is called esophageal ulcer.
Peptic ulcer is very common, millions of Americans being diagnosed with different forms of the disorder each year. The advance of modern medicine has allowed scientists to find out more valuable information about these disorders, enabling them to develop new medical treatments. Although in the past peptic ulcer was known to affect mostly male persons, more and more women suffer from forms of peptic ulcer nowadays. Statistics indicate that the predominance of smoking among women has determined an increase of peptic ulcer incidence with the female gender.
Peptic ulcers can sometimes develop into more serious disorders. As a result of complications, peptic ulcer may lead to perforate or bleeding ulcer. These two forms of ulcer are considered to be very dangerous, research results indicating a high probability of death due to such complications. Perforate ulcer involves severe tearing of the mucosal membrane, causing acute pain and sourness at the abdominal level. Bleeding ulcer involves internal hemorrhages and it needs immediate medical intervention. Most forms of perforate and bleeding ulcer require surgery due to their gravity. If the bleeding is severe, the medical intervention is primarily focused on stopping the hemorrhage and resuscitating the patient. The patient requires blood transfusions to compensate for the loss of blood and needs to be kept under constant monitoring until recovered.
The most common symptoms of bleeding ulcer are: nausea, fever, vomiting blood, presence of blood in the feces, black feces, dehydration, fatigue and body weakness. Due to loss of blood, such forms of ulcer may lead to anemia.
Some peptic ulcers are therefore more difficult to treat than others. When dealing with peptic ulcer, it is very important too keep away from alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes and cola, as these may all aggravate the symptoms of the disorder. You should try to respect a healthy diet and follow the medical treatment prescribed by your physician. If you respect these directions, your ulcer symptoms will most likely ameliorate within the first week of treatment, ensuring the remission of the disorder.