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Peptic ulcers and stomach cancer: Clinical
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Chronic ulcers sometimes don’t cause any symptoms. When they do, the most common symptom is dyspepsia.
With duodenal ulcers, epigastric pain is relieved while eating a meal, but it typically recurs 2 to 5 hours later or it can appear at night. That’s because with duodenal ulcers, Helicobacter pylori is involved in most cases and it increases the hydrochloric acid production by indirectly increasing gastrin production and when there’s no food to act as a buffer, the pain worsens.
If there’s an ulcer in the pyloric antrum or in the duodenum, then it can cause gastric outlet obstruction. That can worsen the symptoms and even cause the individual to lose weight.
A peptic ulcer is an erosion or a break in gastric or/and duodenal mucosa. The most common causes of peptic ulcers are infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Symptoms of peptic ulcers include upper left abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, nausea, and loss of appetite. Treatment involves a combination of medications, and sometimes surgery.
Moving on to stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, it is a type of cancer that begins in the lining of the stomach. Risk factors for stomach cancer include H. pylori infection, a diet high in smoked or salty foods, and a family history of stomach cancer. Symptoms of stomach cancer usually appear in advanced stages and include nausea, vomiting, unintended weight loss, diffuse abdominal pain, hematemesis or melena, and a sense of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating a small meal. Treatment of stomach cancer may involve surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.
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