Perforated Gastric Ulcer Symptoms and Treatment Options

Perforated Gastric Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is a commonality amongst digestive disorders and its causes are just now being fully understood. It was previously thought that these tummy tissue terrors were the result of high stress or a diet that consisted of too much hot or spicy food. Therefore dietetic restrictions, such as a gastric ulcer diet high in dairy and low in spice were combined with medications as a first line of treatment and to prevent worsening of symptoms that could lead to a perforated gastric ulcer. However, now that the true identities of the culprits behind peptic ulcers have been revealed, treatment methods have changed as well. It is now known that a bacterium known as Helicobacter Pylori or overuse of common medications like over the counter pain relievers are the most ordinary causes of peptic ulcers.

A duodenal ulcer is simply a peptic ulcer that occurs in a specific location. In this instance, the sore of course appears in the duodenum, which is the upper part of the small intestines. While not very different from peptic ulcers of other locales, duodenal ulcers are more frequently associated with cigarette smoking, and for occurring at a much higher incidence. In fact, duodenal ulcers are nearly three times more prevalent than gastric ulcers, according to The University of Maryland Medical Center.

A gastric ulcer is one that appears in the lining of the stomach and it is less common than other types of peptic ulcers. And, Wikipedia notes that its presence can be even more alarming, as around 4% of gastric ulcers can potentially be related to malignancy. But, more often than not, serious complications of the common stomach lining threats appear in the form of a perforated gastric ulcer, or a bleeding ulcer as opposed to cancer.

Most normal peptic ulcer symptoms can seem more related to indigestion than anything serious and include abdominal discomfort and a feeling of fullness, as well as hunger and emptiness in the tummy. Stomach bloating is not uncommon nor is belching, according to The University of Maryland Medical Center. However, the symptoms of a perforated gastric ulcer are much more severe and are typically adequate to indicate the extremely urgent nature of the condition. Intense pain is almost always the predominant symptom and this can make even small movements difficult for sufferers. And, it is not uncommon for someone whose pain is so severe from a perforation to appear rigid and stiff as a board in response. A perforated ulcer may also cause a high fever and a drop in blood pressure as well, which are normally discovered when the affected arrive at an emergency room or medical treatment center. And, vomiting (often severe) can occur, and this vomit may appear to be bloody or full of coffee grounds (although both are considered indicative of hemorrhage).

The most common treatment for all cases of ulcer perforation whether for a perforated gastric ulcer or a perforated duodenal ulcer is almost always surgery and immediate emergency care. While antibiotics, acid reducers and a gastric ulcer diet are adequate treatment options for the lesions prior to perforation, they are too little too late to be effective for a perforated gastric ulcer. There is simply no medicine or home remedy that is appropriate for use if a perforation is suspected. And, delaying treatment can increase the risk of serious complications and even death. Various types of surgery have been implemented and are used commonly in emergency settings to treat perforations resulting from ulcers eating through tissue walls; a complication that can lead to leakage into the abdomen. Conservative surgery, that by which a patch closure is used, is one common method. And, immediate definite surgery is still used, although at a much smaller frequency than other methods. The primary means of surgical repair for a perforated gastric ulcer is laparoscopic surgery, the benefits of which include less pain during recovery.

It is important to remember that while ulcers are incredibly common, complications resulting from them such as perforations are considered medical emergencies and bear a mortality rate of as high as 10%, according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Onset of symptoms that are characteristic of a perforated gastric ulcer should therefore be addressed immediately to prevent the situation from becoming increasingly dangerous.