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Peptic ulcers: causes, prevention, perforation and treatment

Ali Erfani Karimzadeh Toosi

Ali Erfani Karimzadeh Toosi
Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht-Iran. Email: alierfani2002@yahoo.com
Online First: December 22, 2016 | Cite this Article
Karimzadeh Toosi, A. 2016. Peptic ulcers: causes, prevention, perforation and treatment. Indonesia Journal of Biomedical Science 10(2): 1-9. DOI:10.15562/ijbs.v10i2.121


Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a sore on the lining of stomach or duodenum. In some cases, a peptic ulcer may develop just above stomach in esophagus, i.e. esophageal ulcer. Peptic ulcer has always been the most common etiology underlying upper gastrointestinal perforation, while gastric perforation represents 10-15% of all peptic ulcers. Alternation in balance between aggressive and protective factors at the luminal surface of the epithelial cells, leads to development of peptic ulcer. Aggressive factors include Helicobacter pylori, hydrochloric acid, pepsins, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), bile acids, ischemia, hypoxia, smoking and alcohol. On the other hands, bicarbonate, mucus layer, mucosal blood flow, prostaglandins (PGs) and growth factors are the most known defensive factors. The shared symptoms include a dull or burning pain in middle or upper stomach between meals or at night, bloating, heartburn, nausea and vomiting are among the most common symptom of peptic ulcer. Some other symptoms in severe cases are dark or black stool (due to bleeding), vomiting blood, weight loss and pain in the mid to upper abdomen. An ulcer may or may not have all or some of the symptoms. In general, ulcers are best diagnosed by instrumental procedures depending on the case and the available facilities in the centre. The most reliable tests include, I) sophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), a thin tube with a camera inserted through the mouth into GIT. A biopsy is also taken during an EGD to be examined for H. pylori, II), X-ray for the upper GIT taken after drinking a thick barium salt, III) blood test to check if there is anemia and IV) detection of blood in the stool. Perforation is the major complication of PUD and the perforated peptic ulcer needs the use of surgical intervention. About 80% of the indications for peptic ulcer surgery are related to perforate peptic ulcers. Most cases are treated by simple suture of the perforated intestinal wall. In most cases, the best treatment is surgical or laparoscopic suture closure of the perforated ulcer. Natural products have found a special place in the treatment plans for peptic ulcer disease.  They exhibit their antiulcerogenic activities by various mechanisms either prophylactic or therapeutic or both. The prophylactic products have considerable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. On the other hand, therapeutic agents possess antisecretory or healing effects. The anti-H.pylori activity of some plant extracts, however, may explain their antiulcerogenic activity.

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