Duodenum is foot long tube placed between stomach and the mid portion of small intestine. When an inflammation occurs on the duodenum, this condition is called as "Duodenitis." More than half of the Americans beyond 60 years of age have been found to be infected with this condition. Duodenitis condition mostly accompanies other health problems such as heptatitis, gastritis, and dyspepsia. Some doctors also connect this disease with astroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In reflux disease the caustic bile present in the stomach leaks into the esophagus.
The bacterium H. pylorus is the most common cause of Duodenitis. This harmful bacterium increases the production of acid inside the stomach. This acid irritates the lining of the duodenum. Less commonly known causes include ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Whipple’s disease, Bacterial infection (Helicobacter pylori), Gastroesophageal reflux disease, stress caused due to surgical intervention or serious infection (sepsis), viral infection, or NSAIDs.
Duodenitis causes inflammation of the stomach lining. Other symptoms of duodenitis include indigestion, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Sometimes, small sores or ulcers appear on the duodenum wall. Abdominal bloating, loss of appetite, or nausea may occur in some individuals. Presence of blood in stool (that can be red, tarry or black in color), unbearable pain in abdomen and vomiting are some of the serious symptoms of duodenitis that need immediate medical attention.
Doctors perform physical examination to check for symptoms such as fullness of stomach, heartburn, excessive gar or bloating, abdominal discomfort, excessive belching, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and vomitting. They would also probe into your past medical history. Rapid weight loss and swollen abdominal organs are some of the obvious signs that confirm the presence of duodenitis. X-ray of gastrointestinal tract may be recommended. For further diagnosis, tissue biopsy and esophagogastroduodenoscopy (an endoscopic procedure) can be advised. Pathological tests (blood, stool and urine) may be prescribed for correct prognosis.
In case of bacterial infection, antibiotic therapy treatment is adopted. Patient must complete antibiotic regime to prevent recurrence. Some of the commonly prescribed antibiotics are Clarithromycin (Biaxin), Amoxicillin, Tetracycline and Metronidazole (Flagyl). Other medications such as proton pump inhibitors or histamine H2-receptor antagonists are also prescribed to reduce the amount of acid that the stomach.
Proper medication and dietary regime helps to minimize the risk of occurrence. However if precautions are neglected, duodenitis can create severe complications such as inflammation in the abdominal wall, internal hemorrhage, and perforated peptic ulcer.