Tag Archives: Peptic ulcer

Straight, No Chaser: The Week in Review and Your Quick Tips

Another week of knowledge and good health has come and gone at Straight, No Chaser.  Here’s your Week in Review.  Click on any of the underlined topics for links to the original posts.
On Sunday, we started the week reviewing rashes found on the palms and soles.  The entire post was meant to raise awareness that secondary syphilis presents like this, which is an important consideration given how easily primary syphilis can be missed, how devastating tertiary syphilis is and how simple treatment is once diagnosed.  Get it checked, and get it treated.  Sunday also brought a tear jerker of a topic in reviewing the physical signs of child abuse.  We often say knowledge is power, but in this example, knowledge could mean continued life for a victim.  Review those patterns of symptoms, and commit to being involved when needed.
On Monday, we reviewed lactose intolerance, which we tend to think is funny in theory but never is if you’re the one affected.  Remember it’s not the dairy that’s important to your health but the calcium it provides.  There are alternatives.  We also provided Quick Tips for the newborn in your family.  It’s never a bad thing to have a newborn evaluated, but don’t be distraught if the answer to your questions involve a lot of reassurance.  Remember, lots of answers to your questions involve things that happen underneath the diaper.
On Tuesday, we reviewed rabies.  We all knew there was a reason we didn’t like bats, skunks and raccoons, but if you live in the wrong area, your household cat or dog could be just as deadly if they aren’t completely immunized against rabies.  We also looked at injuries that occur from playing golf.  Who’d have thought five hours of swinging a club 100 MPH could cause back problems?  It’s such a peaceful game!
On Wednesday, we discussed ulcers.  Amazingly, peptic ulcer disease is most commonly traceable to a bacterial infection.  This is another condition where smoking and drinking (and overuse of pain medications) will come back to haunt you.  Wednesday also brought a review of allergic reactions and the potential life-threatening nature of them.  Because of this fact, it’s just not a good idea to wait around for things to get better on their own.
On Thursday, we discussed antioxidants and free radicals, which surprised a lot of you.  Although you seemingly can’t go wrong with antioxidants you eat, taking all those expensive supplements has been shown not to provide the same level of benefit and may in fact be harmful.  We also reviewed grief and bereavement.  I hope many of you learned that your suffering and responses are not only normal, but they’re universal.
On Friday, we provided an update on CPR and gave you another reason to remember the BeeGees.  Layperson and bystander CPR has been made so easy that you just have to take the two minutes to learn what to do.  We also reviewed cocaine myths and truths, which is important because cocaine often leads to the need for CPR.  I think I scared some people off with the image of big needles to treat their cocaine erections… Oh well!
On Saturday, we discussed drowning.  Keep your infants at arm’s length, and remember to bring a few life-savers (preservers, ropes, etc.) when you plan on being especially adventurous in the water.  We wrapped the week up discussing bedwetting, which often resolves on its own but sometimes is a symptom of another medical condition.
Thanks for your support and continued feedback.  If you have topics you’d like to see discussed, please feel free to send me an email or comment.
Jeffrey E. Sterling, MD

Straight, No Chaser: Ulcers – I Can’t Believe You Ate the Whole Thing…

Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) has an increasing incidence in the general population and particularly so in the elderly, due to a liberal use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen).  These painful sores in the lining of the stomach or first part of the small intestine make for many a bad day (and night).  That ulcer is the end result of an imbalance between digestive fluids in the stomach and duodenum.
What you didn’t know is a bacterial is responsible for most cases.  I’ll come back to that.
You’re predisposed to PUD if you smoke or drink, use NSAIDs or take steroids.
Complications abound.  PUD is actually the #1 cause of abdominal organ rupture.  Other complications include bleeding and obstructions (that you’ll recognize as nausea and vomiting to accompany the pain).
Here we go again with prevention.  If you don’t want an ulcer, or if you want your ulcer to be better, stop the habits that produce it.  I’m talking about smoking, drinking alcohol and taking the pain pills.  Let me be clear: ALL patients with peptic ulcer disease should stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol and avoid NSAIDs.
Severe ulcers are treated with surgery or by endoscopy (which is also the method of diagnosing ulcers – this involves placing a tube down your throat to directly visualize the areas and possibly repairing damage if it’s amenable to that).
Less severe ulcers may be treated with various medications called proton pump inhibitors.  You’ll recognize these acid reducers by names such as aciphex, nexium, prevacid, prilosec and protonix.  If you are discovered to have an infection, antibiotic combinations can be given for one to two weeks for the involved bacteria (Helicobacter pylori) in addition to the proton pump inhibitors.  None of these will address the situation if you don’t make those lifestyle adjustments.
Questions or comments?