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Peptic Ulcers: What, Why and How?

John Allan Anderson considered the view that a peptic ulcer may be the hole in a man's stomach through which he crawls to escape from his wife to have fairly wide acceptance. Though many a true word is spoken in jest, let us look at peptic ulcers from the point of view of the modern traditional medicine.

What is a peptic ulcer? Peptic ulcer is, in fact, an open sore or a wound in the tissue lining of the human digestive organs, such as stomach or duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine). When the ulcers appear in the stomach - they are called gastric. Those sores that affect duodenum are known as duodenal. Collectively, both types are called peptic ulcers.

Peptic ulcers disease is rather common among people. It is considered that about 10% of Americans suffer from this disease. Usually people have more than one ulcer in their digestive tract. The good news is that nowadays this condition is treatable, but careful medical examination is necessary.

Why does it appear? The times, when all the ulcers (at least in men) were explained by stresses, capricious wives and despotic mothers-in-law, have already sunk into oblivion. Modern medicine explains causes of ulcers as follows.

In order to digest food, human organism produces hydrochloric acid and pepsin, which are commonly known as stomach acid or juice. These substances are so strong that they can break down all the food we eat into the simple compounds or nutritious elements.

Under normal conditions the walls of human stomach are protected against the influence of its own acids with special protective lining. But when the protective system fails, acid starts ruining the walls of stomach and upper duodenum, which results in ulcers.

There are several reasons for a malfunction of stomach protective system: #1 - Helicobacter pylori bacteria. It is an example of the truly insidious creatures. They live in the mucous coating of the stomach and duodenum and reduce the protective properties of the letter. As a result, stomach acid irritates the lining and causes ulcers. At the same time, H. pylori is not afraid of acid, because it produces special enzymes that protect it from acid influence.

#2 the long-term use of common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medications are considered to be able to lower the protective potential of stomach lining and thus contribute to the appearance of ulcers.

#3 smoking and alcohol. Though, scientists say that these bad habits do note cause peptic ulcers directly, but they can significantly worsen the symptoms and accelerate the formation of the new ulcers.

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How does it feel? A person with peptic ulcers usually feels periodical dull and gnawing ache in the abdomen (between the breastbone and the navel). This pain starts between meals and usually disappears when a person eats something. Painful symptoms may come and go for a couple of days or even weeks. Often, it may ache even in the middle of the night, when the stomach is empty and the acids do not have any other targets but the stomach lining. Finally, I would like only to remind you that in spite of a rather scary picture of H. pylori bacteria, eating the human stomach and causing ulcers, this condition can be rather easily treated with modern antibiotics and acid reducers. So, if you suspect having peptic ulcers, it is recommended to visit your doctor, who can examine your digestive system, diagnose and prescribe the proper treatment.

Nick


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