Diagnosis of gastric and duodenal ulcers

A duodenal ulcer or stomach ulcer is a chronic disease characterized by a clinically manifested and recurrent ulcer defect. Cyclic disease can appear for various reasons in representatives of either sex, although, according to statistics, men from 25 to 45 years old are mainly sick.

Helicobacter pylori , a microorganism that can damage the mucous membrane of not only the stomach, but also the duodenum, plays one of the leading roles in the onset and development of peptic ulcer disease . Experts are sure that today this microbe can be detected in approximately 75% of all residents of Russia, but not everyone has an ulcer. And all because additional factors are most often needed for the development of an ulcer defect in the mucous membrane. The development of ulcers can be influenced by:

  • Hereditary predisposition.
  • Chaotic medication (without adherence to the prescribed treatment regimen or without a doctor’s recommendation at all).
  • Depressive states, stress, persistent neuroses.
  • An unhealthy lifestyle, including an unbalanced diet, heavy drinking and smoking .

But, even taking into account the above facts, the pathogenesis of peptic ulcer of the gastrointestinal tract (gastrointestinal tract) is not fully understood today, therefore, at the first signs of the disease, it is imperative to seek medical help.

Stomach ulcer symptoms

Signs of gastrointestinal ulcer disease are diverse. Initially, it is important to note the pain symptom in the upper abdomen. It can be sharp, pulling, aching, mild or severe. Pain in stomach ulcers most often manifests itself rhythmically, periodically and even seasonally. The symptom may be associated with food intake, occur at the same time, disturb only in the autumn-spring period. Doctors highlight the fact that with stomach ulcers, abdominal pain disappears after eating or taking antacid medications. Meanwhile, such signs of the disease are not typical for all patients.

A stomach ulcer manifests itself clinically, not only as a pain symptom. Other signs of illness include belching, heartburn, nausea and vomiting, as well as erratic stools and problems with appetite.

  • Heartburn most often appears within a short period of time after a meal, approximately 1-2 hours.
  • Sour belching with stomach ulcers is most often a consequence of antiperistalsis of the stomach or dysfunctions of the lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Vomiting is a rare symptom of an ulcer. It can occur with a pronounced pain symptom in the upper abdomen, for example, at night, and bring significant relief to the patient.
  • If a gastrointestinal ulcer is diagnosed, then the patient’s appetite is most often preserved and even increased. In this case, doctors talk about “a painful feeling of hunger.”

The symptoms of an ulcer depend on numerous factors: the location and size of the ulcer defect in the mucous membrane, the age of the patient, etc. A stomach ulcer, if it is untimely and improperly treated, can quickly become complicated. Bleeding, perforation of the ulcer (perforation), penetration (spread of the problem outside the stomach), pyloric stenosis and malignancy are not excluded .

Duodenal ulcer symptoms

With regard to peptic ulcer affecting the duodenum, the clinical picture of such a problem is very similar to that which can be traced with stomach ulcers . It is important to know that a duodenal ulcer can be absolutely asymptomatic, but most often a chronic disease in its manifestations is cyclical. The disease is characterized by: pain of various localization (mainly in the abdominal cavity), heartburn, bloating, unstable stools, nausea.    

Without effective treatment, duodenal ulcers can progress rapidly. The disease in most of all cases is exacerbated by periods. But, unfortunately, the exact and unequivocal symptoms of an ulcer simply do not exist. Therefore, it is advisable not to engage in experiments, self-medication, in order to exclude possible serious consequences for health.

Comprehensive diagnosis of stomach ulcers in the hospital

The gastroenterologist is engaged in diagnostic manipulations for gastric ulcer. In order to confirm or deny the diagnosis, a specialist will prescribe a gastroscopy, which is performed on an empty stomach using a flexible device with an optical element at the end. Thanks to the latest diagnostic equipment, a specialist examines the stomach and esophagus and performs a biopsy (if necessary). Such a diagnosis of an ulcer is one of the most informative, simple and takes no more than 7-10 minutes.

Also in the hospital, the doctor can prescribe additional diagnostics in the form of ultrasound and radiography. These methods will clarify the diagnosis.  

Diagnosis of duodenal ulcer

If the symptoms of an ulcer bother a person, and he turned to a doctor for help, then initially the specialist will need to collect an anamnesis. The gastroenterologist must learn about the patient’s diet, bad habits, rhythm of life and even profession. Also, the doctor will examine the patient’s abdomen and palpate.

If a duodenal ulcer is suspected, a specialist will prescribe a whole range of diagnostic procedures:

  • Stool analysis (occult blood test).
  • X-ray of the abdominal cavity using a contrast agent.
  • Clinical blood test. 
  • Endoscopic examination, which allows not only to detect the defect, but also to determine its depth, size, shape, state of the edges, etc.

An ulcer in the gastrointestinal tract is a serious problem that must be addressed as soon as possible and only under the strict guidance of the attending physician. Unfortunately, today there is no single effective treatment for all patients with gastric ulcer or duodenal ulcer. Therefore, therapy is selected only on an individual basis, taking into account the patient’s age, the presence of chronic diseases, the type of ulcerative effect and its localization.

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