Antral ulcer is an ulcer in the antral area of the stomach. Antrum is the last lower end of the stomach which closes during the digestion of food and opens to allow the digested food to enter into the duodenum. An ulcer or erosion in this area is a type of gastric ulcer caused mainly by helicobacter pylori infection.
H. pylori bacteria live in the mucous layer of the stomach. It causes inflammation in the lining of stomach. The acid secreted by the stomach lining corrodes the lesion which may lead to an open ulcer.Patient suffering from antral ulcer has severe pain in stomach region, nausea, anemia, vomiting of blood etc. When left untreated antral ulcer can rupture leading to severe hemorrhage and death.
Common Causes Of Antral Ulcers
Antral ulcer is caused by destruction of lining in the antral area of stomach by hydrochloric acid and digestive juices that are secreted by the stomach. Helicobacter pylori infection plays a vital role in development of peptic ulcer which also includes antral ulcer of stomach. The mode of transmission is by eating or drinking food and drinks contaminated by the bacteria.This bacterium when present in stomach lining produces inflammation. The protective mucus layer is destroyed by the bacteria. Hence the acid and digestive juices act on the open layer to produce corrosion and ulcer.
Several other factors contribute in development of antral ulcer. Certain medicines taken for long time can damage the stomach lining. Anti inflammatory and steroid medicines can damage the mucosal lining. Excessive acid secretion in certain hereditary disorder, too much of psychological stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol, excessive coffee intake all can worsen stomach ulcer.
Signs And Symptoms Of Antral Ulcers
The symptoms of gastric antral ulcer are not different from any other type of stomach ulcer. Following are some of the prominent symptoms that are suggestive of gastric ulcer.
- Burning pain in upper abdomen is classical clinical feature of stomach ulcer. The pain is most prominent in area between the umbilicus and end of breastbone. Pain becomes worse when the stomach is empty. It can be mild or moderate. It may also develop in the middle of night which makes the patient to get up from his sleep. Pain may remain for many weeks and months.
- Vomiting and nausea is common feature of stomach ulcer. This persistent problem can cause decrease in appetite.
- Black tarry stool is characteristic of gastric ulcer. Small amount of blood leaks out of the ulcer. This may cause black tarry stool.
- A severe bleeding ulcer can also cause vomiting of blood. The color of blood is coffee brown.
- Weight loss and severe tiredness, pale face and skin are other associated symptoms. Weight loss occurs due to lack of appetite.
Treatment Options For Antral Ulcers
Gastric antral ulcer should be treated appropriately to reduce the risk of life threatening complications. Treatment needs multidisciplinary approach. H. pylori infection should be treated. Antibacterial medicines are used for its eradication. Simultaneously proton pump inhibitors are prescribed to the patient. It reduces the acid secretion and helps in the healing of the antral ulcer. At the same time mucosal protective medicines are also given to the patient, these antacids will protect the stomach lining.
Most cases of antral ulcer are well managed with conservative treatment. However, surgery may be needed in case of emergency such as rupture of an ulcer.
Patient should also change his lifestyle. He has to quit smoking and drinking alcohol. Avoid caffeinated drink. At the same time he has to practice yoga and meditation to relieve stress and strain. Avoid eating spicy food. Eating banana twice in a day is beneficial for healing of the ulcer wound.