Poorly managed peptic ulcer can cause bleeding, death, physician warns

Poorly managed peptic ulcer can cause bleeding, death, physician warns

Amarachi Okeh<

A Senior Registrar of Public Health at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Dr. Kenechukwu Igwegbe, has urged peptic ulcer patients to always ensure that the condition is properly managed.

Professor Igwgbe warned that one of the complications of poorly managed peptic ulcer is bleeding which can in rare cases even lead to death.

According to the public health physician, peptic ulcer patients can also suffer from anaemia due to the loss of blood, noting that this often goes unnoticed if it is the blood is mixed with the stool until it becomes severe.

He urged peptic ulcer patients to pay attention to their stool, noting that such attention can help them to prevent anaemia.

Peptic ulcer, Igwegbe noted, is caused by an acid imbalance in the stomach.

Mayo Clinic, in a recent article, also explained that peptic ulcers have open sores that develop on the inside lining of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. 

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The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is stomach pain, Mayo Clinic stated in the article.

Speaking further with PUNCH HealthWise, Igwegbe explained that the commonest causes of ulcers are chronic abuse of painkillers and a bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori

He stated that these two factors can cause excess production of gastric acid in the stomach and trigger pain.

He stressed that contrary to popular beliefs, stress does not cause or trigger peptic ulcers. 

He also dismissed the notion that it is a false belief that certain foods can cause peptic ulcers. 

He, however, noted that “some fruits and foods can irritate or trigger the existing wounds such as milk, beans, egusi, orange, apple.”

The public health expert noted that while it is rare, peptic ulcers can lead to death through bleeding.

“Bleeding is the commonest complication of ulcer,” he said, “because they’re sores so they could bleed.

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“The bleeding might not be evident. Because they’ll mix in the stool. The patient might also not have the culture of looking at his or her stool before flushing the toilet. The bleeding is mostly noticed when it’s in large amounts.

“So, bleeding causes anaemia which is a shortage of blood. This can lead the patient to shock and eventually death if the bleeding is not controlled but with the advances in healthcare, it’s rare these days for one to bleed to death due to an ulcer,” he said.

To manage the condition, Igwegbe advised patients to take their recommended drugs 30 minutes to an hour before eating food noting that “this will help in suppressing the acid levels.”

The ulcers, he said, can also be treated through endoscopy.



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