Peptic ulcer (gastric and duodenal ulcers)
Which are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms are pain and heartburn. In duodenal ulcers, they occur mostly at night and on an empty stomach, whereas in stomach ulcers they occur immediately after a meal. Gastric ulcers are often associated with dyspeptic symptoms (difficulty digesting, early satiety, bloating), probably due to concomitant chronic gastritis. Complications include progressive anemia or acute bleeding (characterized by a discharge of liquid stools known as "melena," or bloody vomiting). In rarer cases, the ulcer may perforate, causing worsening painful symptoms.
- pain and burning in the stomach
- digestive problems
- early fullness
- bloody vomiting
How is it diagnosed?
The diagnosis is made by gastroduodenoscopy, accompanied by a biopsy of the gastric mucosa. Gastric ulcer biopsy is important to rule out neoplastic pathologies. Searching for Helicobacter pylori infection is very important in order to proceed to definitive eradication with antibiotic therapy.
How is it treated?
There are various effective drugs, such as gastric acid secretion inhibitors (anti-H2, proton pump inhibitors) and mucous membrane protectors, but only eradication of Helicobacter pylori (with combinations of various drugs, especially antibiotics) can permanently solve the problem of relapses. Treatment of acute bleeding is mainly endoscopic, with peripleural administration of vasoconstrictors or metal clips to stop bleeding.