Medical Q&As

Tiredness - ulcer related?

I am worried about my partner and I cannot get him to see a doctor. He thinks he will just be sent home with a list of vitamins to take. He is constantly tired, and can never eat a full meal. He always says that he is sick with hunger, and then when he sits down to a dinner he cannot eat more than half of it. He had symptoms similar to this for the last year or so, but was never as tired. He always puts it down to having such a long time between his lunch and his dinner. Then a couple of months ago he coughed up blood and was sent into casualty. He was treated for an ulcer and when he went back for the follow-up endoscope examination the only results he got was that there was no sign of the ulcer and that his oesophagus had narrowed. I wonder if there was there an ulcer there in the first place, or could there be something more serious wrong? Also could the ulcer be back and is there any way to know apart from waiting until he coughs up blood again? He is only 24 years old.

I doubt that your partner would have been told that he had an ulcer if none were present. Yes, the ulcer could have recurred and he does not have to wait until a further episode of vomiting of blood takes place to confirm that fact. An endoscopy would indicate if the ulcer had recurred. Also a special breath test is available that would indicate if the bacterium called helicobacter has regrown in his stomach. Helicobacter infection of the stomach is the major cause of ulcers and it can recur despite earlier treatment with antibiotics. Your partnerís tiredness could be happening for many reasons including a reactivation of his ulcer. His current difficulty with finishing his meals points toward a gastrointestinal problem. At 24 years of age it is extremely unlikely that his difficulties are of sinister origin but it would be best for him to re-attend his GP and be re-assessed.