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Duodenal Ulcer: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jul 25, 2024

What is the treatment?

Duodenal ulcer is a kind of peptic ulcer. A peptic ulcer is generally a sore which is located on the inside part of the lining around the stomach or on the upper intestine. An ulcer which is located on the small intestine is known as duodenal ulcer. Sometimes gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer can occur at the same time. If you have duodenal ulcers you can experience symptoms like vomiting blood, losing consciousness, difficulty breathing and blood in stool. However, majority of people who have had duodenal ulcers don’t experience these symptoms in the first few stages. These symptoms can only occur if the duodenal ulcer is in an advanced stage and is extremely severe. Duodenal ulcer usually occurs due to a certain type of bacteria and is mostly spread due to consuming food from unclean utensils.

People who are 70 years of age or older, who drink alcohol excessively, who have had a history of peptic ulcers or those who smoke regularly have a much higher chance of developing duodenal ulcers. Consuming spicy food may not create these ulcers but can irritate it and make your symptoms worse. It can be treated easily by proton pump inhibitors or histamine receptor blockers. This works by reducing the acid content in your stomach and protects the stomach lining. Antibiotics or mucosal protective agents can also be prescribed by your doctor to help protect the lining of your stomach. In some cases surgeries like EGD procedure can also be prescribed if your ulcer is bleeding actively.

How is the treatment done?

Since EGD tests are required by the doctor to find a suitable treatment for duodenal ulcer, they usually ask for a repeat EGD several weeks after the treatment to confirm that the duodenal ulcers are healing. This test is very important as duodenal ulcer can be associated with cancer and if it is not treated as soon as possible, it can give rise to malignant tumour growth. Firstly, your doctor will ask for a blood test and a stool culture test to see the behaviour and growth of bacteria causing the ulcer. Urea breath test is also required before proceeding with the use of proton pump inhibitors.

Before prescribing proton pump inhibitors, an EGD is performed and this test last about 5 to 20 minutes. After giving a local anesthetic, a scope is passed through the food pipe to the duodenum and the stomach, which makes it easier for the doctors to see the problem. After the test is over, proton pump inhibitors can be prescribed. These drugs reduce the acid production on the wall of the stomach by blocking the enzymes. Proton pump inhibitors are strong and their effects last long so they should be taken only under the supervision of a doctor.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Proton pump inhibitors also prove ideal for people who have GERD symptoms, inflammation in the esophagus and major complications due to gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). People suffering from duodenal ulcers should take proton pump inhibitors for a speedy recovery.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Women who are pregnant or are breast-feeding should reconsider taking proton pump inhibitors. Women planning to get pregnant should also avoid it at all costs as it might prove fatal for the health of their baby. However, if you have duodenal ulcers during pregnancy, it is important to take advice from your doctor about consuming this drug.


Are there any side effects?

Proton pump inhibitors can also have some side effects which are very common. Some of them include rash, nausea, vomiting, fever, flatulence, abdominal pain, constipation/diarrhea and headache. Long term use of proton pump inhibitors can also increase your risk of osteoporosis in the long run. This is because, it reduces the absorption of cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12). However, proton pump inhibitors are well tolerated by people suffering from duodenal ulcer


What are the post-treatment guidelines?

After the treatment is successful, it is important to take some preventive measures. NSAIDs should be consumed to protect the lining of your stomach only after consulting the doctor. Avoid alcohol and caffeine completely for some time and refrain from smoking tobacco. You should also take all your antibiotics which are prescribed by your doctor. Suddenly stopping consumption of these antibiotics before the course of this medicine is completion, may make the ulcer relapse.

How long does it take to recover?

Recovery from duodenal ulcer can take anywhere from a few weeks to 2 - 3 months depending upon the stage and severity of the ulcer inside the stomach.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of proton pump inhibitors can range from Rs. 500 to Rs 25,000. However if your duodenal ulcer is very severe and needs surgeries such as gastric vagotomy, the cost can go up to Rs. 6,00,000 to Rs. 8,00,000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the treatment are not permanent as proton pump inhibitors doesn’t guarantee the occurrence of duodenal ulcer again in later stages of life. If proper care is not taken and food habits are not changed then duodenal ulcers can occur again.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Other than proton pump inhibitors, duodenal ulcers can be treated by consuming medications such as mucosal protective agents, H2 blockers (histamine receptor blockers) or antibiotics. If the duodenal ulcer is very severe surgery can also be required in such cases.


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Written ByDr. Pankaj Verma ACLS,POST GRADUATE COURSE IN RHEUMATOLOGY,Fellowship in Diabetes,MBBS,Post Graduate Course In Rheumatology,MD - Medicine,Masters in Psychotherapy and CounsellingInternal Medicine
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