Bleeding ulcers are more common in elderly people than in younger ones. They occur when the layer that protects the stomach lining from acid is damaged, allowing the acid to get inside the stomach and into your intestines. They can cause abdominal pain, nausea, bloating and loss of appetite.
Symptoms vary in severity and may last for weeks or even months. A doctor can diagnose a bleeding ulcer by looking at your stomach and small intestine with an upper endoscopy.
Risk factors for developing bleeding ulcers include age, NSAID therapy and Helicobacter pylori infection. Genetics also play a role, as family members with peptic ulcers are more likely to develop them.
Most peptic ulcers can be treated with a medication called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), which reduces the amount of acid in your stomach and decreases inflammation. In addition, treatment includes antibiotics if your ulcer is due to a H. pylori infection.
A peptic ulcer can be a serious medical condition that can lead to other problems such as cancer, heart disease or kidney failure. It's important to get it treated as soon as possible.
A review of 73 patients aged 80 years or over found that epigastric pain was the most frequent symptom, followed by vomiting and nausea. A majority of the ulcers were duodenal, with a smaller proportion of gastric ulcers. The most common causes of peptic ulcer were Helicobacter pylori infection, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and long-term use of PPIs.