Peptic ulcer: causes of the disease, methods of treatment and prevention

In fact, ulcers can occur

not only

in the stomach, but also in the part of the intestine, which is located immediately behind the stomach. And since the cause of both problems is the same, it is more correct to call the disease not a "stomach ulcer", but "peptic ulcer of the stomach or duodenum," or peptic ulcer.

Our stomach is a muscle bag in which caustic gastric juices from a mixture of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid are present. Muscles mix food that gets into the stomach, and gastric juice kills germs and breaks down food into components, which are then partially absorbed in the intestines. From self-digestion, the body protects the mucus, which is secreted by the inner lining of the stomach - the mucosa.

In case of peptic ulcer, inflamed areas appear on the mucous membrane of the stomach or duodenum. And since the inflamed membrane secretes less mucus than is necessary for protection, hydrochloric acid and enzymes begin to corrode the walls of the stomach. As a result, a person feels a dull or burning pain that can occur in the area between the navel and sternum.

With H. 18ylori approximately


of the world's population coexist.

It’s very easy to catch the bacteria, because the infection is transmitted not only through water, food and cutlery, but even

through innocent kisses

- so most people become infected

as a child


Once in the stomach, the bacteria begins to produce substances that damage the mucous membrane. In response to an invasion, cells in the human body can trigger an immune response. If this happens, inflammation begins. This can lead to indigestion, gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, and even increase the likelihood of developing stomach cancer.

In this case, most people infected with H. 40ylori have no problems - over the millennia of evolution, the human body has adapted to neutralize the damage that bacteria can cause to the mucous membranes. The containment mechanism fails only in some people, and the exact reasons why the bacterium gets out of control are still unknown.

According to statistics, about 1% of H. 44ylori carriers get peptic ulcer disease, which is 6-10 times higher than in uninfected people.

And if you take into account that the bacterium lives in about half of the world's population, it turns out that every two hundred people in the world have a chance to get peptic ulcer due to bacteria.

Popular painkillers sold over the counter: aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. NSAIDs


the work of two enzymes - cyclooxygenases (COX 1 and COX 2). Both enzymes are responsible for the synthesis of chemicals - prostaglandins, which are involved in the inflammatory reaction. However, in addition to the "inflammatory" prostaglandins, COX 1 also creates

"protective" prostaglandins

, which help maintain the integrity of the gastric mucosa.

And since painkillers block both COX 1 and COX 2, NSAIDs simultaneously treat inflammation and cripple the gastric mucosa.

As a rule, painkillers provoke an ulcer (stomach or intestines) in those people who are forced to take them

every day

. In addition, the risk group

falls into


  • older than 70 years,
  • taking several OTC painkillers at the same time,
  • with one or more chronic diseases - for example, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and those who previously suffered from peptic ulcer,
  • smokers and drink alcohol.

There is another reason for the development of peptic ulcer disease - Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, in which many tiny tumors form on the wall of the duodenum - gastrin, which secrete a large amount of acid, gradually dissolving the intestinal wall. Fortunately, the disease is very rare - it occurs in one person per million.

It is believed that the risk of developing a disease is associated with a genetic predisposition.

The most common symptom is a burning pain in the abdomen, which has

specific features


  • begins between meals or at night,
  • stops if you eat or take an antacid,
  • lasts from several minutes to several hours,
  • appears and disappears for several days or even weeks.

Sometimes, with a peptic ulcer, appetite spoils, sour belching and nausea appear, blood in the stool (black stool). Vomiting may occur, weight loss occurs.

Even if the symptoms are mild, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

You can’t pull it - if not treated, the disease will gradually intensify and complications may arise: bleeding from ulcers or even perforation of the ulcer (an opening appears in the wall of the stomach). In this situation, surgery is required.

Before starting treatment, the doctor must make sure that there really are inflamed areas on the gastric mucosa. To do this,


endoscopic examinations - esophagogastroduodenoscopy (endoscopy) or gastroscopy - or x-ray.

Then you need to find out exactly what reason provoked the ulcer.

To do this, the doctor:

  • will examine you and ask how you feel - you need to talk about all the unpleasant symptoms and sensations;
  • will find out what medications you are taking, - it is very important to mention all pain medications, as this will eliminate the reaction to non-steroid pain medications;
  • will schedule examinations and tests . Most often, a urease breath test is used or blood or stool tests are prescribed - this allows the detection of H. 152ylori.

The treatment of peptic ulcer depends on the


that caused it. In most cases, patients:

  • choose antibiotics to get rid of H.

    164ylori if they can be detected;

  • prescribe drugs that inhibit the production of acid in the stomach (proton pump inhibitors or antacids) , - these drugs are not used for treatment, but they can be used to alleviate symptoms for no more than two weeks (you should consult your doctor before use);
  • recommend stopping or stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - even if the peptic ulcer is not associated When given with these medicines, they can exacerbate unpleasant symptoms. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe other painkillers to replace.

To alleviate the condition will help compliance with some recommendations: for example, a temporary refusal of spicy foods and alcoholic beverages. However, lifestyle recommendations depend on where the ulcer is located, so you should discuss them with your doctor. On average, it takes two weeks to completely heal the ulcer, but some people have to take the medicine longer - a month and a half.

The most reliable way to not get an ulcer is to avoid

risk factors

. These factors do not cause the disease on their own, but they can provoke it.

Stop smoking - this will help reduce the risk of peptic ulcer associated with the presence of H. pylori. Firstly, cigarette smoke irritates the gastrointestinal tract, weakens the protective mechanisms of the mucosa and facilitates the invasion of bacteria in the intestinal membrane.

And secondly, getting rid of this bacterium with antibiotics is more difficult for smokers than non-smokers.

Do not drink alcohol - alcohol irritates the walls of the stomach and provokes the secretion of acidic gastric juice.

Take non-steroid drugs strictly according to the instructions and do not abuse them.

If you have had any cases of gastritis or peptic ulcer in your family and if you have stomach problems, it makes sense to discuss with your doctor whether you should get tested for H. pylori.

You may be able to get rid of the bacteria in advance, reducing the risk of ulcers.



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