The duodenum is a part of the digestive system of the body. The duodenum is a 12 inch long hollow tube of the small intestine. It forms the first and is the smallest segment of the duodenum. The duodenum plays a vital part in the digestion process of the body. The organ receives the partially digested food from the stomach and helps in chemical digestion of the food particles and prepares them for absorption in the small intestine. Many digestive enzymes from the liver and pancreas gets mixed up with the food particles in the duodenum and aids in the chemical digestion of the food.
A perforation occurs when a hole is formed in the digestive tract including the stomach, large intestine and the small intestine. This can lead to the inflammation of the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. This can be caused by several reasons including:
- Entry of bacteria in the abdomen
- Stomach enzymes
- Partially digested food
The stomach releases various enzymes to facilitate the digestion process and to kill any germs or bacteria. These acid enzymes can be corrosive to some cells that resides in the inside lining of the stomach and the first part of the intestine that is the duodenum. Their natural way of protection against these acids are by forming a layer of mucous that acts as a barrier. This acts upon on a balance on the amount of enzymes produces and the mucus defense barrier. When this balance alters, an ulcer is developed causing damage to the lining cells of the duodenum. This condition causes symptoms such as:
Complication occurs in cases when the ulcers pass through the wall of the duodenum and the enzymes leaks to the abdominal cavity. This condition requires emergency treatment.
Various tests are conducted to detect the presence of ulcers in the intestinal cavity. The main tests include Gastroscopy. This is a type of endoscopy examination which confirms the presence of ulcer in the cavity. In this test, a thin and flexible tube that has a telescope attached, is inserted through the mouth and the oesophagus and reach to the stomach and checks the stomach and the duodenum. This helps the doctor to detect the presence of ulcers if any.
Once the ulcer has been detected the doctors make changes in the diet, with frequent meals in smaller quantities. The acid suppressing meditation is provided to reduce the amount of acid released to the intestine. These meditations work on the cells of the lining of the stomach thereby reducing the release of acids that helps in digestion process.
When the ulcer causes perforation in the duodenum then surgery is required to treat the duodenal ulcer. They are treated by removing the ulcer and closing the hole. In some case a piece of the intestine may be removed resulting in colostomy or ileostomy. This allows intestinal waste to be removed into a bag attached to the abdominal wall.