What Is A Ruptured Ulcer? Its Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Peptic ulcers i.e. ulcers found along the lining of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum are the most common types of ulcers and affect approximately 20 million Americans each year. Ruptured ulcers are associated with a host of symptoms, primarily depending upon the location of the rupture.

Ruptured ulcers are life threatening and should be treated promptly in order to avoid further complications.

This article provides all the information about causes of ruptured ulcers, associated symptoms and the treatment regimen.

Ulcers refer to break in continuity of the mucosal or skin lining. Ulcers are usually associated with severe form of inflammation at the site with associated symptoms like burning, pain, swelling, etc. Some ulcers may penetrate through the entire thicknesses of the walls of an organ to open on to the other sides, which are referred to as ruptured ulcers. While most commonly ruptured ulcers are found in the gastrointestinal tract (especially the peptic ulcers), it may affect other organs.

Ruptured ulcers can lead to life threatening situations primarily due to excessive bleeding or may be associated with peritonitis or ascites (depending upon the site of the ulcer).

Causes Of Perforated Peptic Ulcer

While ruptured ulcers can affect any organ of the body, they are more frequently observed along with peptic ulcers.

The causes for ruptured peptic ulcers include H. Pylori infection, excessive use of Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs, burns, mechanical injury, radiation, excessive consumption of alcohol, etc.

In general the risk factors for ruptured ulcers vary depending upon the organ involved; however certain common risk factors include the following,

  • Heredity.
  • Older age.
  • Chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, long term back pain, etc.
  • Lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, drinking too much coffee, chronic stress, etc.
  • Chronic endocrinal disorders like diabetes, thyroid, etc can also increase the risk of ruptured ulcers.

Signs And Symptoms Of Ruptured Ulcer

The symptoms associated with ruptured ulcer may vary depending upon the organ that is affected. However some of the common symptoms associated with ruptured ulcers include,

  • Severe pain with the sensation of burning and gnawing.
  • Nausea and vomiting can be common symptoms associated with ruptured ulcers.
  • A ruptured ulcer may be associated with ascites (i.e. inflammation within the abdomen) or peritonitis (i.e. inflammation within the pelvic and peritoneal region).
  • Fever, weakness, malaise are other common symptoms.
  • Excessive internal bleeding may be observed in case the rupturing has caused damage to a blood vessel.

In most cases, the person may suffer from a shock and needs to be hospitalized immediately in order to save life.

Treatment For Ruptured Ulcer

Ruptured ulcers are a medical emergencies and the patient needs to be hospitalized immediately. Surgical intervention may be inevitable in cases of damaged blood vessel or in case of inflammation of the peritoneum.

Surgical intervention focuses on stitching the perforation in the ulcer and stopping any form of bleeding that may be associated with surrounding blood vessels. Eventually lifestyle modification and dietary regulations can help in preventing the recurrence of an episode of ruptured ulcer.

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