Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a condition in which ulcers or sores develop in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum (it is beginning of the small intestine). In the United States, peptic ulcer disease affects one out of eight persons. The stomach produces a strong acid that helps it in digesting the food. The inner lining of the stomach is covered by a thick mucous layer that acts as a protective shield against the acid that can injure the wall of the stomach. When acid or bacteria such as H. pylori or certain medications such as aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) overcome this protective mucous layer, ulcers start developing in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum. The condition of gastrinomas in which tumors develop and produce a large amount of stomach acid can also lead to ulcers in the stomach lining or duodenum.
SYMPTOMS OF PEPTIC ULCER DISEASE
The most common symptoms of peptic ulcer disease are gnawing and burning pain in the upper abdomen. The patient experiences these symptoms frequently within several hours after having a meal. The burning pain can sometimes become so intense that a patient wakes up from sleep at night. Some other symptoms include extreme bloating or hunger, while some patients have black stools or vomit blood. The blood in stool or vomit indicates that the ulcer is bleeding which is a severe complication of the disease.
DIAGNOSIS OF PEPTIC ULCER DISEASE
For diagnosing a peptic ulcer disease, the doctor reviews a medical history of the patient. After that, the doctor performs upper intestinal endoscopy, a test used to directly examine the ulcer. During endoscopy test, a diagnosis can be made that the PUD is caused by H.pylori and so the treatment can be given accordingly. Although it is very rare that ulcer becomes malignant, a small sample tissue can be taken through biopsy during the endoscopy to determine if the ulcer is malignant.
TREATMENT OF PEPTIC ULCER DISEASE
There have been a lot of advancements made in the peptic ulcer disease treatment in NJ since the eighties. Nowadays, different acid-suppressing medications are available that can effectively suppress and even eliminate the out-flowing of the stomach acid, allow the ulcers to heal and eventually give relief to the patient. If aspirin or arthritis drugs cause ulcers, acid-suppressing drugs not only effectively heal the ulcers but also prevent them from recurring.
Another major advancement made in the peptic ulcer disease treatment is that the physicians have discovered a complete cure of the PUD when it is caused by H.pylori infection. The physicians use acid-reducing medications to heal the ulcer and antibiotics to treat the underlying H.pylori infection. In this way, the PUD is completely cured because the underlying infection is completely treated. When infection is not completely treated, the ulcers can develop again.
The surgical treatment of peptic ulcer disease is a major form of the peptic ulcer treatment in NJ. Nowadays, it is very rare that the patient needs a peptic ulcer disease surgery due to perforation, obstruction or uncontrolled hemorrhage bleeding.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES OF PEPTIC ULCER DISEASE
Peptic ulcer disease can be prevented by avoiding caffeine and alcohol that stimulates stomach acid secretion, smoking that delays the healing of ulcer and stress that worsens the condition and causes the ulcers to develop.
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