As mentioned earlier, peptic ulcer happens if there are abnormalities involving the intestines. Peptic ulcer happens once the lining surrounding and protecting the intestines thin down. Once the lining breaks, there will be a formation of ulcer.
Most ulcers go undetected since they happen within the first lining. Once the lining gets thinner, a hole called perforation will be developed. If this happens, this warrants immediate medical concern.
What makes a person at risk for developing peptic ulcer is if the stomach is infected by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Even though most people have this bacteria living in their body, not all lead to peptic ulcer unless the person is guilty of the following:
- Too much alcohol intake
- Constant use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin
- Smoking cigarettes or tobacco
- Undergoing radiation treatments
It is also said that high stress levels can lead to peptic ulcer. But there are no clinical studies up to date that supports this claim.
Most common signs and symptoms of peptic ulcer
Bloody stools can mean anything. Before a patient concludes peptic ulcer, here are other signs and symptoms that can happen as well that the patient needs to watch out for:
- Discomfort and pain in the upper abdomen
- Pain in the abdominal area that is very disturbing at night
- Extreme hunger pangs
- Extreme feelings of fullness
- Not being able to drink fluid a lot
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
Even though a patient experiences all these things, doing tests and undergoing laboratory works are highly recommended.
Proper diagnosis of peptic ulcer
As with any disease, it is a must for the doctor to carefully diagnose the patient. This will help the physician deliver the proper healthcare deserved by the patient. And in turn, the patient will get well better because he/she will be receiving the treatments needed.
Some of the tests that the patient will have to go through may include the following:
- Esophagogasduodenoscopy (ECG) – This is done by a gastroenterologist with the use of a special tube with a small camera attached to it. The doctor, with the use of the camera, will be able to see if there are any damages in the intestines.
- Upper GI – The patient will be given a drink called barium before a series of x-ray tests will be conducted.
- Stool guaiac – This test will measure the blood in the patient’s stool.
- Hemoglobin – This will check the blood for any signs of anemia.
Treating peptic ulcer involves killing of the h. pylori bacteria. The doctor will also advice the patient suffering with peptic ulcer to take medications that will reduce the acid levels in the body. Antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors will have to be taken for a minimum of eight weeks. Of course, constant observation by the physician is highly needed.