A Guide To Perforated Gastric Ulcer

Ulcers in duodenum are called duodenal ulcers and ulcers in stomach are called gastric ulcers. It was once believed that smoking, diet and stress were the leading causes of stomach ulcers, but most of the peptic ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria or by the regular use of anti-inflammatory drugs. Family history of ulcer disease and lower socio-economic group increase the risk factors for ulcer from H pylori.

Perforated Gastric Ulcer

Ulcers are common, and can happen to anyone. These are the lesion in the stomach, caused by the stomach acid enzymes that eat away it’s protective walls. Digestive juices flow continuously through the stomach, and also through the open wound. This can cause severe pain in the perforated gastric ulcer. When there is no protective wall, the acidic juices and food will spill into entire abdominal cavity. This abdominal cavity is not designed to handle the complications due to perforated gastric ulcer, and hence the results can be very severe. If perforated gastric ulcer is left untreated, it can develop into peritonitis, which is the inflammation of abdominal cavity and wall. It is a serious condition requiring immediate medical attention and corrective surgery.

Perforated gastric ulcer can be life threatening, and hence it is advisable to get the immediate medical help. If diagnosed on time, it can prevent the condition from reoccurring again. Some symptoms of perforated gastric ulcer are sharp, sudden and severe pain requiring immediate hospitalization.

Treatments to eradicate Helicobacter pylori, and proton pump inhibitors have reduced the need of perforated gastric ulcer surgery, still there are some complications that demand the surgical procedure. Following the perforated gastric ulcer surgery, recurrent ulceration, stenosis, perforation, chronicity, malignant change and hemorrhage are common complications. Billroth I, Billroth II, highly selective vagotomy and truncal vagotomy and pyloroplasty are common surgical procedures to treat this disease.

Following the perforated gastric ulcer, anastomotic leaks, wound infections and recurrence of bleeding are early complications that can occur while patient is in the hospital. Patients over the age of seventy are less likely to respond to the non-operative procedures and hence eventually require surgery. Experts agree that except in elderly patients, the initial non-operative approach is acceptable, but such patient must be monitored very closely by experienced surgeons.

Non-operative treatments for perforated gastric ulcer include nasogastric decompression, broad-spectrum antibiotics, proton pump inhibitor and fluid resuscitation with replacement of fluid and electrolytes.

Gastric ulcers disease is common, and it affects almost 10% of the population at some point in their lives. But, with the help of timely and right treatment, the complications of gastric ulcers can be avoided.