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Peptic Ulcer Symptoms – Short Guideline for Patients

The rhythm of modern life is as rapid as it has never been before. Today everything is fast: fast cars, fast computers, fast work, fast recreation and even fast foods. In this constant rash we sometimes do not pay enough attention to our health. Though the motto “Live fast – die young” was rather popular among young people some time ago, I think that human life belongs to those things that we all prefer to prolong instead of accelerating.

Peptic ulcers are among those health disorders, that undoubtedly reduce the quality and in some cases even the duration of human life. How do I know whether I have peptic ulcers or not? Of course, the final and the most objective answer to this question may be given only by a doctor after a careful examining and testing of a patient. Though, if a patient knows the signs of peptic ulcers, it may help to define the disease on its earlier stages and consequently increase the efficiency of the medical treatment.

The first and the most common sign of peptic ulcers is the abdominal pain or pain in the gut. Peptic ulcers usually cause the feeling of sharp and burning pain between the breastbone and the navel. This pain usually appears a few hours after the meal or it may come in the middle of the night or early in the morning, when the stomach is empty.

Note that peptic ulcers may develop in stomach or in the small intestine, called duodenum. Consequently, the pain from ulcers in stomach differs from the pain, caused by duodenal ulcers. Stomach ulcers usually cause pain right after the meal and it cannot be relieved by eating or drinking. Duodenal ulcers usually cause gnawing ache several hours after the meal and it can be relieved by eating something or drinking (milk, for example).

The other symptoms of peptic ulcers may include belching, general discomfort in stomach, dyspepsia or nausea. A person with peptic ulcers may have appetite disorders, either increased appetite or loss of it. Sometimes, long termed ulcers may result in weight loss and anemia.

Speaking about ulcers symptoms, I would like to underline the so-called emergency symptoms. These are signs, the appearance of which should make anyone seek for urgent medical help. First of all, it is vomiting of a substance that looks like coffee grounds. This sign, as well as the presence of black tarry stools, may be caused by a bleeding in stomach or duodenum.

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Bleeding is the result of ulcer perforation, when it burrows through the stomach or duodenal wall and breaks a blood vessel. Sometimes bleeding is not severe and it does not cause such dramatic signs as blood in vomit or stool. Such slow bleeding usually results in low blood cell count, known as anemia.

The appearance and reoccurrence of the above mentioned symptoms should be treated as the signal for a person to visit a doctor. By the way, even if a person experiences any of the described symptoms, it is not a 100% evidence of peptic ulcers. It may be a sign of general dyspepsia for example, which occurs in 20- 40% of all people, whereas only about 15-25% of these people actually have peptic ulcers.


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