The gastroduodenal ulcer, also called gastric ulcer if it is located in the stomach and which is called duodenal ulcer when it is formed in the duodenum (first part of the small intestine), are in a way wounds in the form of erosion that penetrates deeply into the wall of the digestive tract.
These wounds are often painful: they come into direct contact with the acid present in the digestive tract. A situation comparable to the application of an alcohol swab on a scratch.
The term “peptic ulcer” includes, because of the similarity of their manifestations, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer.
It is estimated that about 10% of the population in the industrialized world is likely to suffer from an ulcer at some time. People aged 40 and over are the most affected. The ulcers of the duodenum are 10 times more frequent than the ulcers of the stomach.
The bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori), a bacterium that survives acidity, is the leading cause of ulcers: it causes approximately 60% to 80% of stomach ulcers and 80% to 85% of duodenum ulcers. These bacteria invade the mucus layer that normally protects the stomach and small intestine from acidity, and would disrupt this protective mechanism in some people. In industrialized countries, 20% of people aged 40 and under have this bacteria in their digestive tract. A proportion that reaches 50% among over 60s. About 20% of carriers of the bacteria will have an ulcer during their lifetime.
Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (eg, aspirin, Advil®, and Motrin®) is the second most common cause of digestive tract ulcers. The combination of infection with H. pylori bacteria and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs increases the risk of ulcer in a synergistic manner. The risk is then 60 times greater.
Other causes :
Usually, an ulcer appears gradually in a few weeks. It can also manifest itself quickly after a few days of taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, but this situation is not very common.
The rate of spontaneous healing could be around 40% (over a period of 1 month), especially if the ulcer was caused by taking NSAIDs and stopped taking them. Final spontaneous healing, without relapse, is however rare. Smokers are more likely to relapse than nonsmokers.
If the ulcer is not treated or the cause is not stopped, there is a strong possibility that the ulcers will reappear within one year.
Complications are relatively rare. The ulcer can cause hemorrhage: the blood then flows into the digestive tract. The hemorrhage is sometimes massive, with vomiting of red blood or similar to coffee beans, with blood in the stool that can be red or black. Bleeding can also be less and relatively slow. It will be noticed or not that the stools become black. Indeed, under the influence of digestive juices, the blood becomes black. Bleeding can cause anemia over time if it is not detected. The first symptom of the ulcer may be hemorrhage, with no previous pain, especially in older subjects. You must consult a doctor without delay.
Another complication, much less common than hemorrhage, is the complete perforation of the digestive tract wall. This situation causes violent abdominal pain, which worsens rapidly in peritonitis. This is a medical and surgical emergency.
Nausea and vomiting.
Blood in vomiting (coffee color) or stool (black).
A loss of weight.
Some factors may aggravate or delay the healing of ulcers by making the stomach more acidic:
It is important to use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (aspirin, Advil®, Motrin®, etc.) appropriately. Otherwise, they may cause heartburn, or even a peptic ulcer, the first symptom of which may be hemorrhage. Sensitivity to these drugs varies from person to person, including age, dose and duration of use.
First of all, it is necessary to calm the irritation and to promote the healing of the damaged tissues.
Take a complex of melissa and valerian (such as the Relaxsom Complex). Click here to consult the technical sheet.
E.O. of Geranium. Click here to consult the technical sheet.
Note: Vitamin C and zinc in combination will act on the healing of the damaged mucosa.Back to blog