Symptoms and Signs of Acid Peptic Disease
Peptic ulcer disease is usually a chronic problem with a natural history of relapse and remission which can last for over 10 years or even more. Gastric and duodenal ulcers usually have common symptoms such as:
- Abdominal Pain: A burning pain in the upper part of the abdomen usually related to mealtimes together with fullness, distension of the abdomen, bloating, with or without nausea and generalized discomfort also known as “dyspepsia”. The pain is usually so sharply localized that the patient can often indicate the exact place with two or three fingers called the “pointing sign”. Gastric ulcer pain is more after the ingestion of meals while duodenal ulcer pain occurs more due to hunger.
- Nausea, heart burn, vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss.
- Gastric outlet obstruction: The ulcer could heal with scarring and result in narrowing of the gastric or intestinal lumen. This could cause an obstruction to food being passed forward.
- Vomiting or passing blood in stool: Signs of bleeding as vomiting of blood or black tarry color of the stool.
- Bleeding and perforation from the ulcer: Bleeding from the site of the ulcer with thinning of the wall may result in perforation.
What is the difference between gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer?
Depending on the duration, peptic ulcers are classified into acute and chronic. Gastric ulcers develop more often in the elderly after the age of 60, while duodenal ulcers occur around the age of 30-40 years. Gastric ulcers are more common in women while men suffer more from duodenal ulcer. Chronic duodenal ulcer rarely develops into cancer while chronic gastric cancers are potentially precancerous. Chronic gastric ulcer is usually seen on the lesser curve of the stomach while the usual area of occurrence in a duodenal ulcer is the first part of the duodenum.
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