Article by Osagie Fadaka (Interview with Brian George)
Peptic Ulcers, Duodenal Ulcers.
This subject is close to my heart because these issues have affected my whole life. The knock-on effects of a medical condition that medical science has developed to such an extent as to make it highly curable.
Gastric Ulcers in the stomach come under many names but are commonly known as Duodenal or Peptic. Unfortunately, these are common, but thankfully, medical science has improved so much that you rarely hear of fatalities, and they are often curable with treatment.
They were much more severe in previous years, and patients were often hospitalized.
My father was found hemorrhaging blood on the floor of his toilet cubicle at work and rushed to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1963; I have particularly vivid memories of that because I joined him there, aged 14 years, to observe an appendix scare. My diagnosis eventually was that my illness was a psychosomatic response to my father’s, and I was released after 24 hours. However, my mental fears made my body sympathize with my fathers. Stress can bring on so many problems.
Common symptoms of stomach ulcers are nagging or burning pain in the abdomen or tummy. However, they may not show as stomach pain but as a general sickness, indigestion, or heartburn.
You should always seek urgent medical attention if you show any symptoms, especially if you vomit blood. That blood has a brown or grainy look, a little like coffee grounds, or it is a very bright red.
Other symptoms are if your turds are very dark, almost black, and sticky like a tarmac or tummy pain worsens.
Treatments are very effective, somewhat different from just a few years back when all my friend’s fathers and my own suffered from them. The common denominator back then was that they had all returned from World War 2 some years before. If a common cause is stress, then I guess that was understandable. These days that would probably be considered post-traumatic stress.
With modern treatments, depending on the cause, ulcers will be healed in 1 or 2 months.
Antibiotics and a medication called a proton pump inhibitor are very effective in the case of a bacterial infection known as H.Pylori. Often your medical team might prescribe antacids as a medication. The proton pump inhibitor also reduces the acid in your stomach and helps the healing process.
The doctors can see what is happening, check with a gastroscopy, and know when the ulcer is healed.
The most common cause these days is a bacterial infection known as Helicobacter pylori which attacks the stomach lining and helps the stomach acids cause some damage.
The other cause is from certain painkiller medications like Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen, or Diclofenac. These medications are known collectively as NSAIDS. Paracetamol is considered to be much safer.
Like most sicknesses, if you are a smoker, it increases your risk and can reduce the effects of any medications. As much as possible, you should avoid spicy foods, too much alcohol, and stress.
Always consult your medical practitioners, doctors, and pharmacists about treatments; if you feel you are taking any aspirin or similar for another condition, such as reducing your risk of blood clots, do not stop until you discuss it with your doctor.
My Mother stopped taking the prescribed aspirin for a blood clot in her neck because she read a newspaper report about them causing ulcers. Within two weeks, she had a stroke brought on by that same blood clot—an excellent example of following your medical professional’s advice.