Gastric ulcers are caused by the corrosion of the gastric or duodenal mucosa. The main causes of gastric ulcer are the following:
- Helicobacter pylori infection
- Non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication
- Gastric ulcer hypersecretion conditions such as gastrinoma (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome).
Peptic ulcer symptoms include pain (associated to food ingestion), vomiting, feeling of retrosternal heartburn, sialorrhea, feeling of gastric satiety.
Diagnosis is made endoscopically (gastroscopy) and using radiologic techniques (barium meal). The detection of Helicobacter pylori in the gastric fluid also plays an important role.
Prevention measures for ulcer include avoiding smoking, avoiding taking aspirin and other non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol, and coffee.
The treatment of ulcers is mainly conservative-pharmaceutical (antacids, H2 receptor antagonists, anticholinergics, medications that reduce the resistance of the gastric mucosa).
Surgical treatment is indicated in the following cases:
- Conservative treatment failure
- Relapse following discontinuation of conservative treatment
- Suspected malignancy
Complication (perforation, hemorrhage, pyloric stricture).