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What are Peptic Ulcers by Monika Staniek

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It was a regular Friday night at Sweet Tomatoes buffet where I happen to work. There was only one table left in the restaurant and we were all getting ready to close.  At first it seemed like the perfect night because everything was already pre-closed and we were making really good timing to get out of there. The only odd thing that night was my manager on duty that had been complaining of having dark or almost black stool and didn’t know what was causing it.  He had told us its been happening for quite a while now but he was too scared to call his doctor. He had also said that he felt like he was going to “pass out”, but we didn’t really think anything of it at the time and thought he would eventually feel better. I remember I was taking out the trash in the back and when I was coming back out front I had found my manager passed out on the tile floor. He was still conscious but was starting to shake a little and look like he was about to have a seizure. I’ve never witnessed anything like this before and didn’t know what to do. I had my co-worker call 911 immediately. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive there, he had made a comment that “He thinks he just defecated himself” and as soon as he said that we had witnessed all blood gushing out of his rectum. This had really freaked us out and we just told him to lay still and stay with us until the paramedics get there. The ambulance arrived shortly after and put him on stretches and rushed him to the hospital. When he returned to work a couple days later he said that the reason he passed out that night was because he was diagnosed with peptic ulcers. I never really heard of anybody having ulcers before especially at such a young age of 22 and it made me curious to find out more about it.

So then the big question is what are peptic ulcers? Peptic ulcers are really painful sores or holes that form in the stomach or your duodenum, which is the upper part of your small intestine.  Doctors had found that it is a result of a disproportion between digestive fluids and duodenum. Some of the things that can contribute to getting this disease are a bacterial infection from H. pylori in the stomach, use of painkillers, drinking, and smoking and excess acid production. When you have the ulcers disease, symptoms vary from one individual to another. Some people don’t experience symptoms at all, while others complain of having burning or sharp pain in their stomach, bloating, heart burn, nausea or vomiting and in severe cases dark stool due to bleeding, weight loss and severe pain in the abdomen. Ulcers are diagnosed through a test called upper gastrointestinal series, which is an x-ray of the stomach, duodenum and esophagus. Another test used to diagnose this disease is an endoscopy, which is a tiny tube with a special camera at the end so the doctors can see the insides of your stomach.

People that are most likely to get diagnosed with ulcers have a family history of ulcers, drink alcohol daily and are 50 years old or older. Depending on the case of each individual there are several treatments for ulcers. Some of them include taking medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPI) to reduce acid levels and protect the lining of the stomach. Antibiotics are also used in treating ulcers when you have the H. pylori infection. Last but not least surgery is needed in some emergency situations. If you want to reduce the risk of getting the ulcers disease some of the things you shouldn’t be doing include smoking, drinking alcohol and overuse of aspirin or painkillers. If you think you have an ulcer you need to contact your doctor as soon as possible. Untreated ulcers grow deeper and bigger and can lead to more painful and serious medical issues, that’s why it’s very important that you treat it as soon as you experience minor symptoms.



WebMD URL: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-peptic-ulcer-disease

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