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Holey Moley!

"What is peptic ulcer disease?"
By: Charlene Lusanta-Malgapo, MDHoley Moley!

Burning... aching... stabbing... piercing... disturbing... the pain is too awful for words.  These may be uttered whenever peptic ulcer disease comes about.

Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is an ulcerative condition of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). The characteristic manifestations are burning sensation at the top of the stomach (epigastric area) that can travel up to the chest, causing heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and flatulence. Symptoms may be absent, however, and may leave you unaware until it gets worse.

PUD is classified as primary or secondary. The majority of primary or unexplained ulcers occur in otherwise healthy individuals. The location of the ulcer is usually duodenal and more often with chronic occurrence. Most cases are known to be caused by gastric infection with the organism Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori are a spiral, urease-producing bacterium which has been strongly associated with primary gastritis and peptic ulcerations. Clustering of infection occurs within families, suggesting a common source of infection, person-to-person transmission, or a genetic predisposition to infection. It often brings no symptoms.

On the other hand, secondary or stress PUD is associated with injury (like burns and brain injuries), systemic illnesses (severe infections, hypotension, respiratory distress), and drugs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, celecoxib, and meloxicam). Furthermore, psychological factors play an important role in predisposing anyone to PUD, especially those who are panicky, perfectionist, those who excel in school or work, and those who often experience family discord or with recent separation or loss within the family.

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