Dr. Salawu Akinjide, a medical Doctor at TSH Medical Centre, Surulere Lagos, and Director of Medical Corps of Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria in Lagos State, in this interview with AISHAH SARUMI, explains the causes and cure for peptic ulcer.

WHAT REALLY IS PEPTIC ULCER?

it’s a form of ulcer and perhaps the
commonest type of ulcer. An ulcer is a breach in the continuity of a membrane. It is like a superficial wound or an abrasion but which has the tendency to dig deeper if not managed early. The word “peptic” is used to describe two different but closely related ulcer types – gastric and duodenal ulcer. So peptic ulcer is an ulcer occurring in the stomach (gastric) and/or duodenum (first part of the intestines).

IS H. PYLORI THE ONLY CAUSE OF PEPTIC ULCER?

Helicobacter pylori is a type of bacteria that has been long associated with peptic ulcer. This bacteria is able to survive in the acidic environment of the stomach but not in the duodenum. It is the most important factor in the development of peptic ulcer. 8 out of 10 people with peptic ulcer have this bacteria in their stomach. However, some people who do not possess this bacteria in their stomach have also come down with peptic ulcer. So there is a consensus that H.Pylori is not the only cause of peptic ulcer.

WHAT ARE THE OTHER POSSIBLE CAUSES OF PEPTIC ULCER?

Understanding the causes of peptic ulcer requires knowledge of how the stomach functions. The stomach helps to secret acids which helps in food digestion. But because this acid produced can also damage the stomach, the creator of man has designed the stomach in a way that the stomach is lined with a protective barrier which protects it from the damaging effect of the acid.
In the past, it was thought that peptic ulcer was caused by excess acid in the stomach. However, some people with normal acid levels have also come down with peptic ulcer. Generally, peptic ulcer is caused by agents that either increase the acid level (thereby overwhelming the protective barrier) or agents that destroy the protective barrier (thereby exposing the stomach to the damaging effect of the acid.
This includes h. Pylori infection; drugs (particularly pain relievers like ibuprofen, diclofenac, aspirin etc); stress; cigarette smoking; alcohol; trauma, like burns, brain injury; genetic factor; extremes of temperature; radiation; people with blood group O (a weak association).

CAN H. PYLORI BE CONTRACTED THROUGH BLOOD AND BODY FLUIDS?

No, H pylori is contracted through the feaco-oral route. This means, it is contracted when one consumes food or water that has been contaminated with Faeces of an infected person. This can be through eating with hand or utensils that has been contaminated with the faeces, drinking contaminated water etc. The bacteria can also be transmitted by housefly from the faeces to the food or drink. All these explains the need to practice regular hygiene which includes, hand washing, covering our foods, drinking portable water and other hygienic practice.

CAN PEPTIC ULCER CAUSE STOMACH CANCER?

Chronic gastric ulcer has been shown to cause gastric/stomach cancer. However, duodenal ulcer has not been shown to cause any form of cancer.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH PEPTIC ULCER?

Gastric and duodenal ulcers share similar symptoms although there are slight differences.
the commonest symptoms of peptic ulcer is PAIN. The pain is described as a burning or gnawing sensation in the center of the upper part of the abdomen. The pain is usually associated with meals. Unlike gastric ulcer in which the pain occurs immediately after meal, duodenal ulcer typically occurs around 3 to 4 hours after meal, at a time when the person is due for another meal. In severe cases, the pain extends to the back. In duodenal ulcer, the ulcer often wakes the patient up in the middle of the night, and the pain is usually relieved by meal, antacid or milk.
Other symptoms include, heartburn, dyspepsia, chest discomfort, in severe cases, the person may start to vomit blood or passage of dark stools.

ANY DIETARY PRECAUTIONS?
Peptic ulcer patients should maintain a healthy diet. Eat balanced diets regularly and avoid Skipping meals.
However, some foods are known to irritate the stomach walls thus worsening peptic ulcer. Some of these foods include spicy and seasoning foods, fatty foods, beverages, alcohol, caffeine.
Even though milk intake is found to relieve symptoms, chronic use of milk tends to make the ulcer worsen and prolong healing.
Adequate intake of fruits and vegetables antioxidants, vitamins, food containing falvonoids like apples onions, garlic as well as some herbs are known to prevent peptic ulcer and also,it heals existing ulcers.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE CURE?

Peptic ulcer can be treated with medical, surgical and lifestyle approaches. The treatment eliminates the h. pylori bacteria, promotes healing of existing ulcers and prevent recurrence.

The decision to commence medical or surgical treatments and the types of drug to be used lies with a Medical Doctor, so if anyone observe any of the above symptoms, one should see a Medical Doctor. Lifestyle changes include the things mentioned above, particularly the dietary approach.

END

Previous articleMuslims should be free to be Muslims, so also Christians
Next articleMaybe we live

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here