KARACHI - Ulcer is a localised area of erosion occurring in the stomach or duodenal lining. Although a sever disease but completely curable.

Dr Atiatul Wahab, Assistant Professor at Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), Karachi University, expressed these views while delivering a lecture on “Gastrointestinal Ulcers-Most Common but Most Misunderstood” at KU here the other day.

The lecture was jointly organised PCMD and Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP) for public awareness on common diseases of Pakistan.

Dr Atia said that prevalence of peptic ulcers was higher in third world countries where it was estimated at about 70 per cent of the population, whereas developed countries show a maximum of 40 per cent ratio.

She said the disease is transmitted by food, contaminated groundwater, and through human saliva.

“Due to its lethality and high prevalence it is necessary to understand the prevention, treatment and change in life style that may help its risks,” she warned.

The lecture was well-attended by health professionals, students, scientists and general public.

Talking about the symptoms of ulcer, she said that abdominal pain, possible bleeding, severe nausea, and vomiting were the symptoms of severe ulcer.

Peptic ulcers, which are open sores, fall into two main categories; gastric and duodenal ulcers—gastric ulcers occur in the stomach and duodenal ulcers occur in the upper gastrointestinal tract, she said and added that risk factors for peptic ulcer include H pylori infection, alcohol, and tobacco use, severe illness and long term use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), she added.

“If the lining of the stomach damage due to stomach acid, it increases the likelihood of H pylori infection which ultimately result in peptic ulcer.

Dr atia said that bacterial infections are also the cause of non-healing wounds in the mucosal environment, giving rise to gastrointestinal ulcers. Helicobacter pylori are the major cause of gastrointestinal infection in adults and children worldwide.

Talking about the problems in treatment, she said that treatment of H pylori infection is obstructed by two main factors: The bacteria live underneath the gastric mucous lining adherent to the gastric epithelium, and hence access of antimicrobial drugs to the site of infection is restricted and antibiotics are not delivered to the site of infection in effective concentrations and in fully active forms, she added.

In term of prevention of the disease the common house hold remedies play vital role especially in the traditional societies like Pakistan, she said and added that the use of honey is found effective in treatment of the disease, while proper and light diet is highly recommended for the prevention against the disease.