If a gastric ulcer or duodenal ulcer is left unattended, it can worsen and give rise to more serious complications. The effects of the complications can be dangerous, even life threatening and therefore on any ulcer symptoms presenting themselves, immediate medical help should be sought. Do read causes of ulcer to understand the complications better. If any of these problems explained below present themselves, do see your doctor. Else, the results can be fatal.
Peptic Ulcer Complications
1. Penetrating ulcer
The ulcer may go on deepening and penetrate an adjacent organ, such as the liver or the pancreas.
2. Bleeding ulcer
An ulcer while growing deep, may corrode into the adjacent small arteries resulting in bleeding into the stomach or the duodenum.
Bleeding ulcer signs: This may manifest as vomits of blood, which may have a coffee ground appearance or the person may have black tarry stools.
3. Perforating ulcer
An ulcer may grow deep so as to perforate the wall of the stomach and cause a hole. This results in the contents of the stomach to spill into the abdominal cavity. This causes the infection to spread into the peritoneum (sac covering the contents in the abdomen) causing peritonitis. There is a collection of fluid in the peritoneal cavity.
Perforating ulcer signs: The patient experiences sharp shooting pain in the abdomen. There is abdominal distension.
4. Pyloric Obstruction
An ulcer at the junction of the stomach and duodenum may get scarred or there may be swelling as a result of which there is an obstruction at this pyloric junction. This is called pyloric obstruction.
Pyloric obstruction ulcer signs: As a result of this obstruction, the food is unable to pass from the stomach into the duodenum. This results in vomiting after food. The patient has loss of appetite and results in weight loss.
A small percentage of gastric ulcers may turn malignant.