ulcer


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to ulcer: ulcer diet, Stress ulcer

ulcer,

open sore or circumscribed erosion, usually slow to heal, on the skin or mucous membranes. It may develop as a result of injury; because of a circulatory disturbance, e.g., in varicose veins or after prolonged bed rest; or in association with such diseases as tuberculosis, syphilis, or leprosy. Corneal ulcers, which result from infection, allergy, or foreign objects in the eye, can cause visual impairment if not treated promptly. Some ulcers may develop into cancer. The underlying cause must be treated as well as the ulcerous lesion.

Peptic ulcer occurs in the mucous membrane of the intestinal tract. An estimated 90% of peptic ulcers are caused by infection with a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, strains of which promote the formation of ulcers by causing an inflammtory response in the cells of the stomach wall, making it more susceptible to the hydrochloric acid secreted by the stomach. Most commonly, it occurs in the stomach (gastric ulcer) or at the beginning of the small intestine (duodenal ulcer, the most common form) and causes abdominal pain, especially between meals.

Infection with the H. pylori bacterium, which is also associated with some stomach cancer, is very common, but not all strains promote the formation of ulcers. Approximately 50% of those over 60 in developed countries are infected; in developing countries the infection rate is much higher, and infection usually occurs earlier in life. Experts are as yet uncertain how the bacterium is spread. Around 20% of those infected develop ulcers. Peptic ulcer is found more frequently in men. Heavy aspirin or ibuprofen use and smoking increase the risk of ulcer development.

The connection of H. pylori infection with peptic ulcer was made in the early 1980s by Australian scientists Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren. It previously was believed that peptic ulcers were caused by emotional stress, though since the early 1900s researchers had reported finding curved bacteria in the stomachs of dead patients with ulcers more often than in those without ulcers. Marshall and Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2005 for their work. Treatment changed accordingly and now typically consists of antibiotics (such as clarithromycin or amoxicillin) plus metronidazole (Flagyl) and bismuth subsalicylate (e.g., Pepto-Bismol). For the relief of symptoms, drugs such as ranitidine (Zantac), famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet), and omeprazole (Prilosec) may also be used. Hemorrhage or perforation of peptic ulcers requires emergency medical treatment.

The full set of genes (genome) of H. pylori was determined in 1997. This achievement will help researchers design new drugs to treat and prevent diseases caused by the bacterium.

Ulcer

 

a defect in the skin or mucous membrane resulting from tissue necrosis. Ulcers are frequently chronic in course and nonhealing, for example, trophic ulcers of the skin. They may be caused by prolonged mechanical (friction, pressure), thermal, chemical, and other actions on tissues, as well as by trophic disturbances of the nervous system, specific and nonspecific infections (tuberculosis, syphilis, leprosy, typhoid), and decomposition of a tumor. The development of an ulcer may also be fostered by metabolic disorders (for example, diabetes mellitus), chronic poisoning, vitamin deficiency, endocrinous disturbances, and exhaustion.

Ulcers vary in shape (round, oval, stellate), depth, and size. The base of an ulcer may be covered by granulations, a purulent deposit, or necrotic tissue. Deeply penetrating ulcers are dangerous because they destroy the walls of blood vessels and cause hemorrhages. If the course of the disease is favorable, the regenerative process is dominant and scarring occurs; however, recurrences are possible.

Treatment is directed toward curing the main disease. Physical therapy and any one of a variety of topical ointments and dressings may be prescribed. Surgery is required in refractory cases.

R. B. KAVTELADZE

ulcer

[′əl·sər]
(medicine)
Localized interruption of the continuity of an epithelial surface, with an inflamed base.

ulcer

a disintegration of the surface of the skin or a mucous membrane resulting in an open sore that heals very slowly
References in periodicals archive ?
A warning sign that NSAID use may lead to an ulcer is upset stomach or heartburn after taking the drug," Dr.
Genital ulcer, sexually transmitted ulcer, non-sexually transmitted ulcer.
Ulcer is discontinuity of skin or mucous membrane which occurs anywhere in body.
No significant difference was observed in the 4-week and 8-week groups in terms of ulcer healing (68% vs 69%, respectively; P=.
All patients (n=2,974) admitted in the neurosurgery ward during the study period were included and were observed for development of pressure ulcer.
The cost of treating a hospital acquired pressure ulcer imposes a significant financial burden on health care facilities, since The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as many private insurance payers have ceased reimbursement for these conditions," Montague says.
Oral ulcer which appears after dental treatment is usually an indicator of minor recurrent aphthous ulcer.
Intake of caffeine leads to acid secretion but its role in ulcer formation is not proved.
We examined Medicare claims data for FYs 2009 and 2010 to examine the degree of underreporting the presence of stage codes on pressure ulcer claims.
Coverage of the Venous Leg Ulcers (Crural ulcer) pipeline on the basis of route of administration and molecule type.
After determining pressure ulcer risk, caregivers are instructed to "monitor the impact of the interventions, and CO modify, the interventions as appropriate" (p.
4 Orajel Mouth Gel (from pharmacies) To become ouch-free fast, this gel contains a powerful local anaesthetic - benzocaine - that works by blocking the pathway of pain signals along the nerves and numbing the sore area caused by the ulcer.