Ulcer is defined as an open lesion, with loss of tissue, which occurs in the skin or mucous membranes, i.e. it is a wound. Ulcer is a lesion (sore) of the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract, which occurs mainly in the stomach and duodenum (upper portion of the intestine).
What is it?
The stomach, intestines and digestive glands produce substances that are responsible for the digestion of food we eat, among them, the hydrochloric acid and pepsin. For a long time understanding this disease was based on two beliefs: "no acid, no ulcer" and "once ulcerative, ulcerative always."
In order to have the digestion of food, the stomach needs produce hydrochloric acid and other substances that are responsible for initiating process. Thus, the content of this body is very acidic, which could lead to damage to your walls if the body had not developed protection mechanisms.
The cells of the stomach produce mucus, a kind of jelly-like substance that covers the wall and is one of the main mechanisms guards. Other protective factors are the secretion of bicarbonate (which neutralizes acid) and scaling constant of the gastric mucosa. All these protective mechanisms are controlled by the production of some substances generically called prostaglandins.
It has long been believed that peptic ulcer resulted from the action of acid on the walls of the stomach and duodenum, eroding and forming the same wounds. But today we know that the disease arises when there an imbalance between aggressive factors and protective mucosal gastric / duodenal. Gastric acid has become a co-actor in the genesis of disease.
What are complications?
Patients with peptic ulcer complications can that can put their lives at risk, requiring surgical treatment in many cases.
• Drilling: occurs when the ulcer erodes the entire wall of the organ (stomach, duodenum). It is a serious complication that can lead to abdominal infection and death if not promptly treated. • Obstruction: When the ulcer healing and fibrosis so that block traffic food through the digestive tract. • Hemorrhage is the most common complication and may appear as blood in the stool or vomiting of blood.
What the patient feels? The most common manifestation of the ulcer is pain, with four key characteristics that help in diagnosis, such as type, location, pace and schedule. The pain is usually referred to as a burning sensation and sometimes pain and hunger. In most cases, is located "in her stomach, the patient can point the finger at the point of tenderness. The rhythm is understood by the relief of pain with food, being described as like "hurt, come and pass." It is frequent repetition of complaints in the same time of year which is understood as periodicity. Other symptoms may occur as nausea, vomiting and fullness (a feeling of heaviness or fullness in the stomach) after meals. These findings, although not directly caused by the ulcer, is associated in many cases. The pain lasts for weeks and has a rhythm, which is not unique to each type of ulcer:
• Pain that begins 2-3 hours after feeding, and at night (can wake up patient at night), which improves with the use of antacids and the intake food. This type of pain is more associated with duodenal ulcer. • Pain that worsens or is triggered when the patient eats. This type is more common in the stomach ulcer.
Another important feature is the presence of period’s improvement and other worsening of pain. Other symptoms that may arise are: nausea, vomiting, eructation (belching), flatulence (gas evacuation), among others.
It is noteworthy that some patients are completely asymptomatic, with the first manifestation of the complications of the disease.
It can happen ulcer not cause symptoms and first be a complication of the disease such as bleeding and perforation. When bleeding occurs the patient note stool black, shiny, soft and particularly foul smelling (melena) and / or vomiting with blood type live or coffee grounds (hematemesis).
There is no scientific evidence that foods (coffee, soft drinks, milk, alcohol and spices) favor the development of ulcer. Similarly, people in general believe that there is a psychological factor involved in this disease, but this was not confirmed.
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