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Why do We Get ill with Peptic Ulcers and Gastritis

There are many microorganisms and bacteria living inside us. Some of them are harmless and friendly other on the contrary just waiting for their moment to strike. With some bacteria we can be infected in early childhood or through water, contaminated food or from another infected individual. We can have the disease distributors many years and still don't develop a certain disease.

This is exactly the case with Helicobacter pylori (also referred as H. pylori) – a spiral shaped bacterium, which lives on the gastric epithelium and is considered to be the main cause of the majority of cases of peptic ulcers and gastritis. Its outer layer is resistant to stomach acid that’s why it can comfortably live on the stomach tissue for a very long time.

H. pylori weakens the natural protection of the stomach and duodenum. As the result of this weakening gastric acid can get to the sensitive lining beneath the mucous coating and begin to irritate and damage it causing inflammation or ulcer.

Strange though it may seem but the bacterium doesn't cause ulcers in every infected person. Many people can live with it many years and have not the slightest idea that they can become ill with ulcers. There isn’t a single answer to the question why not all people who have H. pylori have ulcers. It can depend on the type of H. pylori, the medical conditions of the infected person or his or her inherited predisposition.

Another common cause of ulcers and gastritis is prolonged taking of some medications, especially non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs include aspirin, drugs containing aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and some others. These medications can irritate and inflame the lining of the stomach and destroy its natural defense mechanism. Some medicines that are used to treat arthritis can also damage stomach’s protection. It is recommended to take NSAIDs with meals or to replace them with milder drugs.

Some underlying medical conditions can increase the risk of ulcers and gastritis as well. It concerns the medical problems that release too much digestive juices and acid in the stomach.

Before 1982 many scientists considered that the major causes of ulcers were spicy foods, physical and psychological stress, alcohol and smoking. The fact is that all these factors can make existing ulcers worse, in some cases even lead to recurrence of the disease but they are in no way the main culprits of it. It doesn’t mean however that we can now fall into the habit of heavy drinking, eating anything we can get and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. These factors do increase our chance to get gastritis or an ulcer and prevent the old one from healing.

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The best understanding of origin and course of such spread diseases as gastritis and peptic ulcers can help to treat them more effectively. In the past before H. pylori was discovered a lot of patients weren’t always treated properly. They got medications that eased pain and relieved main symptoms but did not cure the disease.

Today knowing the main causes and the best ways of treatment of gastritis and ulcers most people can be cured of the diseases altogether. Since we get the illness due to a bacterium it can be healed with a help of antibiotics. The main thing we shouldn’t endure pain and other symptoms for long but seek for help as early as possible.


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