Duodenum is part that lies in the upper portion of small intestine that connects stomach with the intestine. Any inflammation on the duodenum is medically known as duodenitis. It can cause severe abdominal pain and bleeding of intestine. The symptoms of this disease can vary from mild to severe. The major cause of duodenitis is a type of bacteria by name H Pylori. If left untreated bacterial infection can lead to ulcer formation. Some other causes are side effects of certain medications and over consumption of alcohol. Duodenitis can be treated with antibiotics if H pylori bacterium is the cause of infection.
Signs of duodenitis vary from one person to another depending on the intensity of infection. Some of the common symptoms include stomach pain, bloating sensation (fullness), gas formation, loss of appetite, indigestion, nausea and vomiting. In rare cases there can be bloody discharge in the stool (black colored stool) with sharp abdominal pain. In that case emergency intervention is needed.
H pylori bacterium is the common cause of duodenitis. Hepatitis infection and gastritis can also cause inflammation f the duodenum. Some people who are taking non-steroids for extended period of time can develop inflammation on the duodenum. Sometimes, Crohn’s disease and undergoing radiation therapy for stomach cancer can cause infection of the duodenum.
Since the duodenum lies very close to the stomach some of the digested food particles and gastric juices can enter into it causing irritation and inflammation. Being very close to stomach, all the food that you eat would pass into the small intestine through duodenum. This makes it more prone to irritation and infection.
Who are at risk?
People who are taking NSAID’s for prolonged period, people with Crohn’s disease, people who are consuming excess of alcohol, people who are taking radiation therapy, people who are overly stressed and people who use tobacco in many forms are prone to develop duodenitis. In severe cases, duodenal ulcer can cause internal bleeding leading to life threatening complication.
Your doctor will look for the above symptoms of abdominal pain. He can order for imaging tests of CT scan of the stomach, ultrasound scan and if required he may do a biopsy by cutting small tissue sample from the stomach portion and testing it for infection. In addition, he would ask for blood test, urine analysis and stool analysis.
If duodenitis is caused by H pylori your doctor would prescribe antibiotics for two weeks or even more. Some of the common antibiotics given are clarithromycin, amoxicillin, metronidazole and tetracycline. For some patients, he may prescribe proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole, lanzoprazole, pantoprazole and rabeprazole. Histamine H2 antagonists like tagamet, pepcid and zantac are also given. To control excess of vomiting/nausea you can use electrolyte available over the counter. In case the symptoms occur due to prolonged use of medications, your doctor would reduce the dosage or prescribe alternate drugs for other illnesses.