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The small intestine is divided into three parts, the duodenum, jejunum and the ileum. The duodenum is the first portion of the small intestine responsible for enzymatic breakdown of food. In layman’s language inflammation of the duodenum is known as duodenitis.

Symptoms of duodenitis

The symptoms of duodenitis are almost similar to that of any other stomach infection. It begins with:

  • Pain in stomach
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Vomiting, nausea
  • Acidity, gas, indigestion (GERD)
  • Loss of appetite

People who tend to ignore the initial symptoms may develop severe health complication eventually which is characterized by blood vomit, bloody stools or black stools, weight loss, abdominal distention, and unbearable abdominal pain.

NOTE: Remember to go for a medical check up on observing the aforementioned symptoms without delaying.

Causes of Duodenitis

  • Stomach infection caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori.
  • Long term use of pain killers and NSAIDs
  • Excessive drinking and smoking
  • Atrophic gastritis due to autoimmunity
  • Weak immune system due to poor nutrition
  • Secretion of excess stomach acid
  • History of radiation therapy
  • Stress to stomach due to surgery or injury
  • Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, Whipple’s disease

Health Risks Associated with Duodenitis

Failing to follow doctor’s advice or delay in treatment can pose serious health risks which include:

  • Inflammation of the abdominal wall
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Duodenal Perforation

Diagnosis of Duodenitis

Your doctor will definitely begin the analysis with enquiring about the changes you have observed in your health. He/she will evaluate the symptoms and then ask you to undergo an upper GI endoscopy. Just like any other type of endoscopy technique your doctor will insert a thin, flexible tube through your mouth till your duodenum. A camera is attached at the end of the tube which gives clear picture of the duodenum. Several abnormalities get detected through this endoscopy and a sample of duodenal tissue may also be collected for further analysis.

Additionally stool test, urine and blood test may also be advised by your doctor.

Treatment of Duodenitis

The treatment depends completely on your test reports. H. pylori infections are treated with a wide range of antibiotics and a specific course is prescribed to avoid recurrence of infection.

Symptoms of bloating, acidity, gas, etc. are treated with histamine H2-receptor antagonists, proton pump inhibitors and antacids. If a person has undergone severe vomiting and loose motions, then he/she must consume electrolyte replenishing solutions and drink lots of water.

Apart from these, lifestyle change is a must needed. Addiction to tobacco products, cigarettes and alcohol should completely be eradicated. Include healthy fibre, protein and omega-3-fatty acids in your diet and stay away from acid provoking foods.  

What to Expect?

The complications are 100% curable when you get treatment at proper time. However, you need to be immensely patient to boost your immunity and improve the functions of the duodenum.

We insist you to focus on leading a good life with healthy foods and regular exercise. Reduce your stress level and maintain a schedule for your day-to-day work in order to fortify your immune system naturally.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 11, 2015