The frequent use of non-steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin can lead to peptic ulcer, says Adegboyega Akere, consultant gastroenterologist at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
The medical practitioner told NAN on Wednesday that 20% of patients using anti-inflammatory drugs are prone to peptic ulcer.
“Frequent use of NSAID drugs like aspirin, Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to peptic ulcers.
“The risks associated with this behaviour increase in women and men over the age of 60.”
According to Akere, peptic ulcers are “sores that develop in the lining of the stomach, lower esophagus or in the first part of the small intestine.
“They are usually formed as a result of inflammation caused by bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori, as well as from erosion from the stomach acids.”
He said the most common symptom of peptic ulcer is burning abdominal pain that extends from the navel to the chest, which ranges from mild to severe adding that untreated ulcers could become worse over time and lead to other health conditions.
The consultant noted that the disease was fairly common in adults and children, saying they were in three types.
“Gastric ulcers develop in the stomach, esophageal ulcers in the esophagus, while duodenal ulcers develop in the upper section of the small intestines called the duodenum.
Apart from the use of inflammatory drugs, other factors that cause peptic ulcer include smoking, too much alcohol, radiation therapy and stomach cancer.”
Other symptoms of peptic ulcer include changes in appetite, nausea, bloody or dark stools, unexplained weight loss, indigestion, vomiting and chest pain.
Akere said two tests could be used to diagnose peptic ulcers which were the ‘endoscopy’ and the ‘upper gastrointestinal series (GI).
“In this procedure, the doctor inserts a long tube with a camera down your throat and into the small intestine to examine the area for ulcers.
The instrument also allows you as the professional, to remove tissue samples for examination.
“I should add here that not all cases require an upper endoscopy. However, this procedure is recommended for people with a higher risk of stomach cancer.
“This includes people over the age of 45 and those who experience anaemia, weight loss, gastrointestinal bleeding and those having difficulty in swallowing.”
Akere explained that upper gastrointestinal series tests (GI) could be administered to patients with difficulty in swallowing and also on those with lower risks of stomach cancer.
“For this procedure, the patient will be asked to drink a thick liquid called barium swallow. Then a technician takes an X-ray of the stomach, esophagus and those with small intestine.
“The liquid will make it possible for the doctor to view and treat the ulcer.
“Treatment for peptic ulcer will depend on the underlying cause of it. If tests show that the H.pylori infection is present, doctor will prescribe a combination of medications.”
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