Bleeding ulcers are complications associated with untreated peptic ulcers. This can be life threatening and require immediate medical attention. Peptic ulcers when left untreated or ignored can give rise to other complications such as perforation, penetration, gastric outlet obstruction and pyloric stenosis. Bleeding ulcers are not rapid in onset but due to long-term undiagnosed peptic ulcers.
Bleeding Ulcer Symptoms
- Hematemesis or vomiting of blood by patients with a history of peptic ulcers is a signal that a person may be suffering from a bleeding ulcer.
- Melena or the presence of black tarry stools. (These are feces which are black in color and indicate upper gastrointestinal bleeding.)
Hematemesis and Melena can also be caused by other medical conditions, but are generally associated with gastrointestinal bleeding when a patient is known to be suffering from peptic ulcers.
Bleeding Ulcer Treatment
Bleeding ulcers are complications associated with untreated peptic ulcers. This can be life threatening and require immediate medical attention. Peptic ulcers when left untreated or ignored can give rise to other complications such as perforation, penetration, gastric outlet obstruction and pyloric stenosis. Bleeding ulcers are not rapid in onset but due to long-term undiagnosed peptic ulcers.This is a popular way of treating bleeding ulcers because it is non-surgical, and the patient can be discharged on an outpatient basis. Because no invasive cutting is required, it is not as traumatic as a surgical procedure.
Medications given for Bleeding Ulcers
Medicines are used in conjunction with endoscopy to improve effectiveness of treatment. Medications such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac) may be used for stress ulcer and prophylaxis. Cytoprotective agents coat cells and protects them against acids. Anticholinergics, on the other hand, are medications which prevent further acid secretions. Emergency drugs such as Epinephrine are also used to stop bleeding by aiding in blood clotting and narrowing blood vessels. Since aspirin inhibits natural blood clotting, it is strongly prohibited for patients suffering from bleeding ulcers. .
Surgery for Bleeding Ulcers
Surgery is indicated for emergency cases or when other medical treatments such as endoscopy or medicines have failed to arrest bleeding. Exploratory surgery is performed in the abdominal area with the wound area exposed. The wound is then closed by cauterizing or clamping the blood vessels.
In today’s hectic world where time is of the essence, simple activities such as maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle are often neglected. Pressures from work or school also produces stress, causing acid buildup in the stomach leading to peptic ulcers. Some diseases could easily be prevented with a sensible diet and regular exercise. Bleeding ulcers are medical emergencies which, if not prevented or treated early, can be life threatening.
It is often said that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
Bleeding ulcers are complications of peptic ulcers which have been untreated or ignored. Again, simple lifestyle changes in diet and exercise can prevent the development of peptic ulcers and ultimately bleeding ulcers.
written by Ronald Uy, RN
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Peptic Ulcer. Retrieved August 21, 2009 from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org
Treatment for Bleeding Ulcers. Retrieved Aug 21, 2009 from Ulcer-cure.com: http://www.ulcer-cure.com
Peptic Ulcer. Medical Surgical Nursing (10th Edition). Brunner and Suddarth, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.