Introduction and General Data
A peptic ulcer is an excavation of the surface of the stomach or duodenum. Duodenum is actually very beginning of the small intestines. These excavations and sores occur if the protective layer of the stomach or intestines is not functioning properly. After the damage of the protective layer the stomach acid attacks the mucous membrane and leads to ulcer formation. Gastric ulcers are ulcers present in the stomach while duodenal ulcers form inside the duodenum. Peptic ulcer is treated rather successfully as there are numerous treatment options including different medications and even a surgery in specific cases.
Peptic ulcers most commonly occur either due to infection caused by Helicobacter pylori or chronic usage of certain medications, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
The symptoms of peptic ulcers are burning pain in the upper part of the abdomen, heartburn, loss of appetite followed with loss of weight and flatulence. In complicated peptic ulcers which bleed or in case they have perforated vomiting of fresh blood and significant increase of pain in abdomen is present.
Treatment of Peptic UlcersMedicamentous Treatment of Peptic UlcersMajority of people who are suffering from peptic ulcers take certain medications. These medications either protect the surface of the stomach and duodenum or reduce the production of the stomach acid. In case one is infected with Helicobacter pylori he/ she additionally has to take specific antibiotics to eradicate the bacterium. Furthermore, patients are advised to quit smoking and intake of coffee and alcoholic beverages. Even spicy food is forbidden. If not treated properly and on time peptic ulcers can lead to several rather serious and potentially life-threatening complications.Surgical Approach in Peptic UlcersFortunately, surgical procedures are not so commonly performed in case of peptic ulcers. Still from time to time and in certain patients only the surgery can deal with possible complications of peptic ulcers.
Surgery is performed in those peptic ulcers that simply will not heal in spite of medicamentous treatment. Bleeding is another complication of peptic ulcers that is treated surgically.
Perforation is one of the deadliest complications of peptic ulcers. Namely, the stomach acid reaches peritoneum and leads to its inflammation. The surgery is in this case performed to clean the abdominal cavity and to close the hole on the stomach. Sometimes chronic ulcers of the lower part of the stomach can cause obstruction and in these cases the goal of the surgery is to deal with the obstruction and re-establish the normal passage of the food.
Additional surgical procedures that are performed in case of peptic ulcers include vagotomy which is cutting of the nerves that innervate stomach, pyloroplasty which is the widening of the distal part of the stomach and in extremely severe cases partial gastrectomy can be performed.