What You Should Know About A Perforated Ulcer
A perforated ulcer is a very serious condition, often requiring emergency treatment. A perforated ulcer can occur at any age though is rare in children and tends most often to affect the elderly.
An ulcer, whether it exists in the stomach, or in another part of the gastrointestinal tract, is not an uncommon condition. Some ulcers go away on their own, while most others are effectively treated either by medication, by changes in eating habits, or both. Ulcers can, and often do cause discomfort, although in some instances may cause little in the way of noticeable symptoms.
What A Perforated Ulcer Does - When an ulcer begins to bleed however, it becomes what is known in some circles as a bleeding ulcer, and in others a perforated ulcer. Although a bleeding ulcer may not in all instances represent an emergency situation, it can become a very serious situation indeed if left untreated. An untreated bleeding or perforated ulcer may literally burn a hole in the wall of the stomach, and allow digestive juices in the stomach to escape into the abdominal cavity, sometimes accompanied by partially digested food and juices. The result is often the formation of abscesses or the development of a severe infection in the abdominal cavity. Symptoms can vary for mild to severe pain to situations where patients may go into shock. A perforated ulcer, not treated in time, can often cause death.
A perforated ulcer results from a general condition known as peptic ulcer disease. Poor or improper dietary habits can be a cause of peptic ulcer disease, as can smoking and alcohol intake. Anything that tends to irritate the stomach could lead to peptic ulcer disease, which we commonly refer to simply as "ulcers".
A Problem With The Elderly - Younger adults who suffer from ulcers often feel a great deal of discomfort and will usually experience a great deal of pain if a perforated ulcer is present. One of the curious, and somewhat troublesome aspects of peptic ulcer disease in general, and the perforated ulcer in particular, is that the elderly are most often affected, and the elderly are least apt to notice or feel the symptoms. When the elderly do feel the effects of a perforated ulcer, it is often quite late in the game.
A perforated ulcer is a condition that most of us are unlikely ever to experience. Even those who have peptic ulcer disease are not necessarily at high risk of developing a perforated ulcer. A person with a known case of peptic ulcer disease may even be at somewhat at an advantage in this case, as he or she is likely undergoing treatment, and the overall condition is probably being closely monitored and attended to.
Lifestyle Matters - Besides the foods we eat, our general lifestyle often dictates whether we are apt to suffer from ulcers or ever apt to suffer from a perforated ulcer. We know that food can be the villain, as can stress. Systemic diseases, especially those affecting the gastrointestinal tract can potentially cause ulcers to develop. While no one is completely immune, there are things we can do in the way we live to lessen the probability that ulcers will ever be a problem. In general, any abdominal pain which appears to be out of the ordinary or seems to be particularly severe should be treated as if it were an emergency situation. Obviously, most of us don't head for the emergency room every time we have a stomach ache, and would be embarrassed to do so. But in the case of ulcers and abdominal pain, “better safe than sorry” is a good rule to abide by.