Duodenal Ulcer

Duodenal Ulcer: What You Need to Know

Duodenal ulcers, or peptic ulcers, are painful sores that occur in the lining of the small intestine. They’re a common digestive disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. They’re usually caused by a bacterial infection or by certain medications, like aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The most common symptoms of a duodenal ulcer are abdominal pain, usually in the upper middle or upper right portion of the abdomen, and heartburn or indigestion. Less common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and bloating. It’s also possible to have no symptoms at all.

The good news is that duodenal ulcers can usually be healed with simple lifestyle changes and medications. Here’s what you need to know.

Treatments for Duodenal Ulcers

Duodenal ulcers can usually be effectively treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. Here are a few of the most common treatments:

  • Antibiotics: These are often prescribed to help kill the bacteria that can cause duodenal ulcers. Your doctor may suggest an extended course of antibiotics or a single dose.
  • Anti-ulcer medication: This type of medication helps reduce the amount of acid in your stomach to promote healing of the ulcer. They may also help reduce symptoms such as heartburn and indigestion.
  • Acid-blocking medications: These medications reduce the amount of acid produced in the stomach, which can help reduce discomfort and speed up the healing process.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the ulcer or treat an underlying cause. Your doctor will let you know if this is an option for you.

Lifestyle Changes for Duodenal Ulcers

Making certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the pain and discomfort caused by duodenal ulcers. Here are some of the most important:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals: Eating smaller meals throughout the day can help reduce the amount of acid in your stomach.
  • Avoid spicy or acidic foods: Foods like tomatoes, chocolate, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol can make ulcers worse and should be avoided.
  • Reduce stress: Reducing stress can help reduce the amount of acid in your stomach and help your body heal. Try relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking cigarettes can make ulcers worse and should be avoided.

Duodenal ulcers are a common and treatable condition. By making a few lifestyle changes and taking medication as prescribed, you can enjoy a healthy and comfortable life once again.