What is duodenitis?

Duodenitis is inflammation occurring in the duodenum, the beginning of the small intestine. Inflammation in the lining of the duodenum may result in abdominal pain, bleeding, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. The most common cause of duodenitis is a stomach infection associated with a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H pylori). This organism disrupts the mucus barrier that normally protects the delicate duodenal lining from acidic stomach contents. Loss of this barrier predisposes a person to chronic inflammation and duodenal ulcer.

Many people become infected with H pylori at a young age, but symptoms most commonly do not appear until adulthood. In some people, H pylori infection causes duodenitis, which, if untreated, may lead to an ulcer (open sore) in the duodenum. Severe illness and prolonged use of medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), alcohol, or tobacco may also lead to duodenitis. Less commonly, Crohn’s disease can cause duodenitis.

The signs and symptoms of duodenitis can be constant or sporadic, and the disease course varies among individuals. If H pylori is the cause, your symptoms will remain as long as the infection is untreated. Some people with duodenitis have no symptoms at all, while others may have burning pain or nausea with or without vomiting.

In the case of H pylori-related duodenitis, the infection can be treated successfully with antibiotics. For duodenitis not related to H pylori, medications that reduce stomach acid can be an effective treatment. You can reduce your risk of H pylori infection by following commonsense hygiene practices such as washing your hands with soap and water. Lifestyle changes, such as limiting alcohol consumption and limiting your use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce your risk of duodenitis that is not related to H pylori.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, bloody or black tarry stools, or bloody or black vomit.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for duodenitis but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.


What are the symptoms of duodenitis?

Duodenitis causes inflammation of the stomach lining that may result in a number of symptoms. The symptoms can vary in intensity among individuals.

Common symptoms of duodenitis

You may experience duodenitis symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times any of these abdominal symptoms can be severe:


What causes duodenitis?

The most common cause of duodenitis is H pylori infection. Other causes of duodenitis include prolonged use of medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can cause inflammation of the lining of the duodenum. Severe illness, radiation therapy, and Crohn’s disease are also associated with duodenitis.

What are the risk factors for duodenitis?

... Read more about duodenitiscauses


How is duodenitis treated?

Treatment for duodenitis begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine if you have duodenitis, your health care provider may ask you to provide blood, urine, and stool samples for laboratory tests. Upper endoscopy permits visualization of the duodenum and the collection of small mucosal biopsies. Biopsies are studied under the microscope to confirm H pylori ... Read more about duodenitistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System

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