Duodenal ulcers are a relatively common form of illness that can lead to pain in the abdomen and a number of other unpleasant symptoms. Once a patient or doctor recognizes a duodenal ulcer and begins treatment, they generally heal within a couple of weeks. Duodenal ulcers, like other forms of ulcers, are a type of sore that can form on the inner lining of the digestive system—in this case, in the duodenum. The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine, the area through which food first goes after it exits the stomach. It’s possible to get ulcers in both the stomach and the duodenum, and for this reason it’s easy to confuse the symptoms of the two and it can be difficult to actually diagnose a duodenal ulcer as opposed to a stomach ulcer. Regardless of the type of ulcer, however, both fit into the category of a peptic ulcer and thus you can be diagnosed with peptic ulcer disease.
There are a number of ways that you can contract a duodenal ulcer, but almost all of them have something to do with the way that your stomach produces mucus. Your stomach uses mucus to protect its sensitive lining from the harsh digestive juices that are used to help digest food. This acid, which is useful for helping to break down food and kill bacteria, can be quite dangerous to the lining of your stomach. There are lots of things that can contribute to problems relating to mucus in the digestive tract. The first and most common problem is a bacterium known as H. Pylori. This bacterium can cause inflammation in the lining of your duodenum, making it more susceptible to developing ulcers. Over-the-counter NSAIDs—anti-inflammatory medications used for alleviating mild-to-moderate pains and aches—are also known to contribute to the development of ulcers and should be used in moderation. Unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking are also known to contribute to the development of ulcers.
If you think that you may be suffering from a duodenal ulcer, it can be useful to determine whether or not you need to seek medical treatment by looking at some of the symptoms. In this article, we’ll outline the most common symptoms of a duodenal ulcer.
Symptom #1: Abdominal Pain
Patients suffering from a peptic ulcer usually complain about abdominal pain as one of the most common symptoms. The pain is usually felt in the upper part of the abdomen, also called the epigastric region. Pain degrees may vary depending on the type of ulcer and location. Usually, patients with a duodenal ulcer experience pain several hours after a meal, whereas, patients with a gastric ulcer may experience epigastric pain shortly after a meal.
Sharp abdominal pain that appears abruptly should be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible as it can be a sign of a peptic ulcer perforation which is a medical emergency.