The small intestine is a narrow tube between the stomach and large intestine that digests and absorbs ingested food. The duodenum is a part of these small intestines, and the name of the duodenum was given because it resembles twelve fingers arranged side by side. The duodenum is the place where the most digestive juices collect, and it is responsible for neutralizing the acidic chyme juice produced by mixing gastric juice and food by the generated alkaline mucus. When the mucous membrane is damaged and inflamed, various related diseases occur. Duodenal ulcer is one of these diseases related to the duodenum, and refers to an ulcer disease in which damage to the duodenal fascia layer is progressed as the balance between harmful factors and protective ability that can cause damage to the mucous membrane is broken.
It can be said that the main cause of the occurrence of duodenal ulcer is infection by Helicobacter pylori and excessive gastric acid. It is also known that various factors such as digestive enzymes, bile, drugs such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and alcohol disrupt the balance of the mucous membrane that protects the duodenum and cause ulcers. In addition, various environmental factors such as mental stress, smoking, and caffeine act as factors that disrupt the balance of the damaged mucous membrane, which has a great influence on the occurrence. Now, let’s learn more about the main symptoms, treatment, and prevention of duodenal ulcer in more detail.
The main symptoms of duodenal ulcer
A characteristic symptom of a duodenal ulcer is that it is a burning pain at the tip of the stomach on an empty stomach. 60~80% of patients experience this kind of pain, and often wake up after 2~3 hours after a meal when acid is secreted or between 11~2pm at night when acid secretion is the highest. At this time, if you eat food or take an antacid, the symptoms may go away easily, but in very severe cases, the pain is temporarily relieved and then the pain starts again. In addition to these pains, various symptoms such as abdominal distension, sinus palpitations, nausea, and vomiting may also accompany.
These duodenal ulcers sometimes recover on their own, but if treatment for Helicobacter pylori is not treated, it is known to recur at a rate of 60 to 70%. When symptoms worsen by delaying treatment, intestinal bleeding may occur due to ulcers that have penetrated to the submucosa, intestinal obstruction that prevents food from leaving the stomach due to inflammation and edema at the ulcer site, and intestinal perforation caused by ulcers piercing the mucous membrane symptoms may appear. Therefore, it is important to receive appropriate treatment before symptoms worsen, and especially if you have black stools, bleeding from the ulcer is highly likely, so it is important to visit a hospital for examination and treatment.
Duodenal ulcer treatment and prevention
1. Accurate diagnosis and treatment according to the diagnosed result
In order to diagnose a duodenal ulcer, an examination to confirm the ulcer is performed through gastrointestinal angiography or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. In addition, a biopsy is performed to confirm the presence or absence of Helicobacter pylori, the causative factor of duodenal ulcer. Based on the results of the diagnosis, treatment for duodenal ulcer and Helicobacter pylori is carried out. The treatment of duodenal ulcer is carried out using drugs such as gastric acid secretion inhibitors and mucosal protective factors that help the ulcer heal, and the duration is usually 6 to 8 weeks. And for Helicobacter pylori treatment, stomach acid inhibitors and two or more antibiotics are taken for 1 to 2 weeks. In addition, when complications such as intestinal bleeding, intestinal perforation, and intestinal obstruction occur, surgical treatment is considered in addition to endoscopic treatment.
2. No smoking
Tobacco is known to be a risk factor that greatly affects the occurrence of duodenal ulcer by stimulating the secretion of gastric acid and delaying wound healing. Therefore, it is recommended to reduce or quit smoking, especially if you have been diagnosed with a duodenal ulcer. And alcohol is also known to be the main factor that directly damages the duodenal mucosa, so it is recommended to reduce the amount of drinking.
3. Regular and healthy eating habits
In order to prevent duodenal ulcer, it is very important to maintain an adequate amount of food and at the same time maintain a diet composed of sufficient protein, vitamins and minerals at a regular time. It is also important to control the intake of irritating and salty foods, fatty foods, coffee, high-caffeine drinks, and carbonated drinks that cause duodenal ulcers. It is also recommended to avoid overeating, binge eating, and eating before going to bed.
In addition, it is also important to continue the management method to properly relieve stress, because excessive mental stress can also stimulate stomach acid and cause ulceration and worsening of symptoms. In addition, taking unnecessary drugs can also cause ulcers, so it is important not to abuse them.