Duodenal ulcer treatment varies from one patient to another, depending upon disease etiology and severity of the condition. While treatment for stable duodenal ulcer is done with medication, bleeding ulcer calls for endoscopic therapy, while a perforated ulcer is treated with surgery.
Peptic ulcer disease is an umbrella term that represents open sores in the mucosa lining of the gastrointestinal tract, basically the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The term duodenal ulcer suggests that ulcer is present in the upper portion of the small intestine. For deciding appropriate treatment, the doctor performs a thorough medical examination of the existing condition and manifested symptoms. According to suspected causes, medication and/or surgery is indicated for treating duodenal ulcer.
Treating Duodenal Ulcer
According to medical researches, majority of the peptic ulcer cases begin in the duodenum. Similar to other types of ulcers, the leading causes for ulceration in the duodenum are infection by Helicobacter pylori (responsible for 70 to 90 percent cases) and medication side effects. It is still believed that having too much of spicy foods and acidic foods causes duodenal ulcers, which is not true. Of course, the condition is exacerbated with poor diet, spicy foods, smoking, alcohol consumption, and other triggers.
Since the affected duodenum is frequently exposed to stomach acids, symptoms can be debilitating. In contrast to stomach ulcer symptoms, they are prominent before meals when stomach acids are passed to the upper portion of the small intestine, and subside gradually after having food. In case of delayed treatment, the complications for perforated ulcer and bleeding ulcer are high. Thus, medical attention at the earliest possible date is a necessity for good duodenal ulcer prognosis.
Treatment for Stable Duodenal Ulcer
When diagnosed in the early stages, stable duodenal ulcers are treated with medications. In case of ulcer caused by H. Pylori infection, eradication with combined antibacterial therapy is a must. Usually, the patient needs to take prescription antibiotics for 7 days. Whereas for ulcers triggered by medication usage, discontinuation of the medicine is an unavoidable approach. If it is not feasible, one can ask for alternative medications to avoid worsening of duodenal ulcer symptoms. For such a case, treatment may involve taking proton pump inhibitors (PPI) or other acid suppression therapy for a specific period.
Natural Treatment of Duodenal Ulcer
Coming to natural treatment, it is applicable for stable ulcers. The main objectives are lowering acidic juices secreted by the stomach, fighting infection (if any) and healing existing inflammatory condition. Some of the effectual herbs that are anti-inflammatory in action include slippery elm, goldenseal root and licorice. Of these, goldenseal root contains both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial active ingredients. In order to achieve maximum benefits from natural remedies, one should strictly follow the intake dosage and treatment period suggested by the herbalist.
Treatment for Bleeding Duodenal Ulcer
The risks for bleeding ulcer are old age, medical history of ulcer, H. pylori infection, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and prolonged smoking. Patients having any of these risk factors are suggested to undergo esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to diagnose a bleeding ulcer. After confirmation, endoscopic hemostatic therapy (EHT) is proceeded for bleeding duodenal ulcer treatment. Under this endoscopic therapy, the patient may be given epinephrine injection or thermal coagulation, or both.
Treatment for Perforated Duodenal Ulcer
About 10 to 20 percent of duodenal ulcers are diagnosed as perforated cases, which affect the wall of the duodenum. A medical emergency, perforated ulcer causes severe pain, and often results in acute peritonitis. Thus, timely treatment is imperative to avoid severe life-threatening medical complications. Surgery is the only option regarding perforated duodenal ulcer treatment. This is also done for recurrent bleeding, failed endoscopic therapy, and for patients who are non-responsive to medication treatment.
In addition to therapeutic treatment, correct diet planning, keeping the body hydrated at all times, and managing stress are suggested for prompt recovery. Less water intake is associated with reduced secretion of mucus, which is responsible for protecting the mucosa lining. It is also found that prolonged stress enhances elevated production of stomach acids. To avoid this, adopt healthy lifestyle habits and manage stress properly.