By Username
Enter a URL of an MRSS feed

Film about pressures facing a white-collar worker whose ulcer drives him to psychological extremes. Director: Ned Hockman; Producer: Dwight Swain; Production Company: University of Oklahoma; Sponsor: Oklahoma State Department of Health. Creative Commons license: Public Domain. Preventing Ulcers. Public Domain Video. A peptic ulcer is a hole in the gut lining of the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus. A peptic ulcer of the stomach is called a gastric ulcer; of the duodenum, a duodenal ulcer; and of the esophagus, an esophageal ulcer. An ulcer occurs when the lining of these organs is corroded by the acidic digestive juices which are secreted by the stomach cells. Peptic ulcer disease is common, affecting millions of Americans yearly. The medical cost of treating peptic ulcer and its complications runs in the billions of dollars annually. Recent medical advances have increased our understanding of ulcer formation. Improved and expanded treatment options are now available. For many years, excess acid was believed to be the major cause of ulcer disease. Accordingly, treatment emphasis was on neutralizing and inhibiting the secretion of stomach acid. While acid is still considered significant in ulcer formation, the leading cause of ulcer disease is currently believed to be infection of the stomach by a bacteria called "Helicobacter pyloridus" (H. pylori). Another major cause of ulcers is the chronic use of anti-inflammatory medications, commonly referred to as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), including aspirin. Cigarette smoking is also an important cause of ulcer formation and ulcer treatment failure. H. pylori bacteria is very common, infecting more than a billion people worldwide. It is estimated that half of the United States population older than age 60 has been infected with H. pylori. Infection usually persists for many years, leading to ulcer disease in 10 % to 15% of those infected. H. pylori is found in more than 80% of patients with gastric and duodenal ulcers. While the mechanism of how H. pylori causes ulcers is not well understood, elimination of this bacteria by antibiotics has clearly been shown to heal ulcers and prevent ulcer recurrence. NSAIDs are medications for arthritis and other painful inflammatory conditions in the body. Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn), and etodolac (Lodine) are a few of the examples of this class of medications. Prostaglandins are substances which are important in helping the gut linings resist corrosive acid damage. NSAIDs cause ulcers by interfering with prostaglandins in the stomach. Cigarette smoking not only causes ulcer formation, but also increases the risk of ulcer complications such as ulcer bleeding, stomach obstruction and perforation. Cigarette smoking is also a leading cause of ulcer medication treatment failure. Symptoms of ulcer disease are variable. Many ulcer patients experience minimal indigestion or no discomfort at all. Some report upper abdominal burning or hunger pain one to three hours after meals and in the middle of the night. These pain symptoms are often promptly relieved by food or antacids. The pain of ulcer disease correlates poorly with the presence or severity of active ulceration. Some patients have persistent pain even after an ulcer is completely healed by medication. Others experience no pain at all, even though ulcers return. Ulcers often come and go spontaneously without the individual ever knowing, unless a serious complication (like bleeding or perforation) occurs. The diagnosis of an ulcer is made by either a barium upper GI x-ray or an upper endoscopy (EGD-esophagogastroduodenoscopy) The barium upper GI x-ray is easy to perform and involves no risk or discomfort. Barium is a chalky substance administered orally. Barium is visible on x- ray, and outlines the stomach on x-ray film. However, barium x-rays are less accurate and may not detect ulcers up to 20% of the time. An upper endoscopy is more accurate, but involves sedation of the patient and the insertion of a flexible tube through the mouth to inspect the stomach, esophagus, and duodenum. Upper endoscopy has the added advantage of having the capability of removing small tissue samples (biopsies) to test for H. pylori infection. Biopsies can also be examined under a microscope to exclude cancer. While virtually all duodenal ulcers are benign, gastric ulcers can occasionally be cancerous. Therefore, biopsies are often performed on gastric ulcers to exclude cancer.