Duodenitis is a digestive condition where the area of the small intestine that connects to the stomach, also known as the duodenum, becomes irritated and inflamed. When this happens, the overall function of this section of the digestive tract, like breaking down food, emptying the stomach and triggering other organs for the process of digestion, will inevitably be affected, prompting fairly uncomfortable symptoms. If a person begins to suffer from duodenitis, it will usually be due to some very specific things.
One of the more common causes of duodenitis, especially in more developed countries, is from an over-the-counter medication, like ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen or naproxen. The reason for this is that some people, or at least their digestive tracts, are more sensitive to anti-inflammatory medications. Just from the use of this type of drug, the duodenum becomes irritated, causing the inflammation associated with this condition. It may seem a little ironic that an anti-inflammatory could cause inflammation, but, for some people, it can be the case.
There is also the potential that an acidic secretion from the stomach can irritate the duodenum, causing the development of duodenitis. When stomach acid is allowed to secrete or invade into the duodenum, it can cause the reaction of inflammation. Over time, this inflammation will elicit certain symptoms, like nausea and vomiting or even ulceration.
H. Pylori Infection
Another common cause of duodenitis is an infection by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. While this is more evident in underdeveloped countries, it can still happen in the U.S. When this particular bacterium enters the body, according to the Mayo Clinic, it can make its way through the digestive system until it comes to rest in the stomach or duodenum. Once here, it produces an enzyme that protects it and allows it to survive. For many people, they'll never realise that they've been infected. But for others, this bacterium will cause an irritation and inflammation within the duodenum, prompting duodenitis.
When someone is suffering from duodenitis, he may actually not display or manifest any symptoms. The only way in which the condition is found is by pure accident, like through an endoscope being used for the diagnosis of another condition. However, some people will display certain symptoms of the condition, including nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and blood in the stool.
To treat duodenitis, a doctor must first determine what is causing the condition. If it is medicinal, the individual will be removed from all nonessential medications to see if the condition improves. If it is internal, a medication, like ranitidine or omeprazole, will be administered to lessen the secretion of stomach acids. If its bacterial, an antibiotic can be used to rid the duodenum of the pests.
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