You may think that all types of ulcers are the same and is manifested by abdominal pain that is associated with food intake. More often than not you think food intake will relieve the symptoms only to realize that it is further aggravated by it.
Different ulcer diseases appear in different sites of the gastrointestinal tract and in the same way management varies in spite the fact that certain symptoms may present itself in the same manner.
Ulcer or Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) is defined as erosion in the gastric mucosa that is clinically manifested by hyperacidity and severe upper abdominal pain.
PUD is often associated with the presence of Helicobacter Pylori, a bacterium that lives in the acidic environment of the stomach; or the chronic use of medications like aspirin and NSAID’s (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) and the lack or too much of food affects the secretion of gastric juices in the stomach.
Of the four classifications of PUD, the most common is duodenal ulcer followed by gastric ulcer. To differentiate the two ulcers, take a look at the symptoms they present:
1. Both ulcers are characterized by abdominal, usually epigastric pain; the difference is that gastric ulcer presents pain that radiates to the left where the stomach is located while duodenal pain radiates to the right where the duodenum is located.
2. Food intake relieves duodenal ulcer while gastric ulcers are aggravated by it.
3. Both ulcers present a feeling of being bloated and abdominal fullness.
4. Gastric ulcer is often associated with lack of food, that is why it has been tagged as the “poor man’s ulcer”, while duodenal ulcer as the “executives’ ulcer” who is well nourished but with high levels of gastric juices related to stress.
5. Both may present symptoms of nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and loss of weight.
6. Bright red bleeding or hematemesis (vomiting of blood) characterizes gastric ulcer, while black colored stools called melena are associated with duodenal ulcer.
7. Both ulcers may have symptoms of heartburn.
8. Complications for both ulcers include bleeding, perforation of the gastric lining and peritonitis.
The next time your stomach aches go to your health provider for proper assessment and evaluation so that you will receive the appropriate treatment and are less likely to experience complications.