Acute Peptic Ulcer Disease

Hi mumies! I was not able to come to work from Tuesday until Friday because I was diagnosed with "acute peptic ulcer disease." I only came to work, yesterday, with our summer haircut ;) that makes my officemates say "whoa!" I will post how me and my daughters look some other day. 

In the meantime, I would like to share some info about the said disease so you will be aware. Remember, knowledge is power, and prevention is always better than cure. :)

What is a Peptic Ulcer?
A peptic ulcer is an open sore or erosion of the inner layer of the stomach wall, the esophagus or the first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum. There are various causes of peptic ulcers and once diagnosis is established, it is important to identify the cause when possible in order to optimize treatment.

Causes
According to the National Institutes of Health the most frequent cause of peptic ulcer is a bacterial known as Helicobacter pylori. It is unclear how the bacteria is transmitted, but it may stem from mouth to mouth transmission as in kissing or from unclean food or water. The majority of the people with H. pylori do not get ulcers, however.

The next most frequent cause of peptic ulcers is the use of medications known as NSAIDs, which includes such drugs as aspirin and ibuprofen. (Guilty! Every time I have body aches like after doing laundry, I always drink it up with ibuprofen! tsk tsk) These drugs degrade the protective barrier of the stomach so it is more exposed to stomach acid. 

Other causes are more rare and include radiation treatment, excessive alcohol or tobacco, (another one here! Nope, I don't drink a lot, but, yes, I smoke) being on a ventilator in an intensive care unit, and Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, in which a pancreatic tumor signals the stomach to make too much acid.

Diagnosis
Diagnosis of peptic ulcer disease starts with a careful history of the symptoms by a heath-care provider. Typical symptoms include abdominal pain that may be worse with meals or several hours afterward, feeling of fullness, nausea, bloating, vomiting or weight loss. The health-care provider will also want to know about NSAID use, alcohol consumption and other potential contributing factors. Tests for Helicobactor pylori can be done on the blood, stool or urine. Diagnosis is usually established with certainty by endoscopy, which is the insertion of a small flexible scope into the stomach through the mouth.

In my case, the doctor just asked me how am I feeling, and describe the degree of pain. She also asked my lifestyle and eating habits. 

Treatment
Treatment involves eliminating the cause of the ulcers and giving medications to help the stomach heal. Medications such as proton pump inhibitors or PPIs and histamine receptor blockers, or H2 blockers, help suppress acid so the lining of the stomach can heal. If H. pylori has been detected, antibiotics will be given to eradicate the infection. Bismuth, the primary ingredient in Pepto-bismol, may also be given. If bleeding occurs because of the ulcers, endoscopy or surgery may be needed to stop it.

Well, my doctor just asked me to take Rebeprazole Sodium once a day for ten (10) days. The medicine is kinda pricey, it's cost is around Php 65.00, but reasonable, because after three (3 days), the pain is gone. :) However, I need to continue taking this para daw maghilum ang gasgas, according to my doctor, and I'm on my 5th day. 


--Live Strong

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