Peptic Ulcer Disease Causes and Risk Factors
Peptic ulcer disease is characterized by sores, which are called ulcers. These can occur in several areas throughout the digestive tract. A peptic ulcer can bring about symptoms that are commonly associated with indigestion and heartburn. Sufferers may experience stomach bloating, a burning pain in the abdomen, vomiting, and nausea. Most peptic ulcers heal on their own over time according to WebMD, however they can cause complications in some instances.
A type of peptic sore known as a duodenal ulcer is one of the most common. These can be found on the upper part of the small intestine. The symptoms of this particular type of ulcer are not very different from others, however heartburn may occur more frequently, and so might chest pain. These duodenal ulcer symptoms can vary in severity from person to person.
Peptic ulcer disease produced by stomach dwelling sores will also display many of the same symptoms as ulcers in other parts of digestive system tissue lining. Some gastric ulcer symptoms, such as vomiting blood, weight loss and stool that is darker or black in appearance may be more common in instances of a gastric ulcer than in other types.
In most cases, peptic ulcers are a result of an H. Pylori infection. This is a relatively new finding, because it was previously believed that peptic ulcers and peptic ulcer disease were the result of high stress or an abundance of trigger foods like hot wings and soda. However, H. Pylori is now thought to be one of the major causes of these common digestive disorders. Additionally, the overuse of common, over the counter pain relievers such as NSAIDs and aspirin are also thought to be common causes. Prescription strength versions of these are also regarded as potential sources of peptic ulcer disease.
Gastrinomas, which care tumors of the cells which produce acid in the stomach, are also thought to be causes of the condition. They can elevate acid production, as is observed in Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, according to WebMD.
But, aside from common causes, there are risk factors that can increase susceptibility to peptic ulcer disease. For instance, those with a family history of ulcers are considered at higher risk. And, certain illnesses such as liver disease, kidney disease and lung diseases may also increase the odds of developing the condition. People who are over 50 years old and those that consume alcohol regularly may also be at a higher risk. And, of course those who ordinarily use over the counter pain medications like NSAIDS are certainly at an increased risk of developing peptic ulcer disease. Of course, those infected with H. Pylori bacterium stand a markedly increased chance of developing peptic ulcers as well.
Complications that can arise from having the stomach sores include bleeding and gastric obstructions. But, a more serious complication, perforation, can occur. This happens when the sore eats its way through the walls of the affected area, whether that be the stomach wall, the lining of the esophagus or the duodenum. When this occurs, it is considered a medical emergency, and so signs and symptoms should be treated as such. These include severe and intense abdominal pain primarily.
Certain risk factors and causes of peptic ulcers can be mitigated. Decreasing alcohol intake and quitting smoking are both important if ulcer aversion is a goal. And, while bacterium caused ulcers are a little bit harder to prevent, the overuse of pain relieving medication is not, and this should be considered for chronic users. A family history of the condition greatly increases susceptibility and therefore, caution should be heeded in individuals whose families have a past of bouts with the condition. Early detection and treatment are essential to the long term management and maintenance of peptic ulcer disease.