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What is a Curling's Ulcer?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A Curling’s ulcer is a type of ulcer that affects a portion of the small intestine called the duodenum. This type of ulcer typically develops when a patient has suffered severe burns on his skin or sustained serious injuries to his body. A Curling's ulcer is described as a stress ulcer because it results from the physical stress caused by trauma to the patient’s body. It develops when gastric acids cause a hole to form in the duodenum lining and cause pain, appetite loss, and bleeding. Treatment for this type of ulcer usually involves the suppression of acid.

A stress ulcer typically forms in relation to a critical injury or illness. Curling’s ulcers are rare, but can pose a serious health threat for the patient. In most cases, this type of ulcer develops after a patient has been seriously injured by burns to his skin or suffered some other type of severe harm to the body. Though it is called a stress ulcer, it is not related to mental or emotional stress. This type of ulcer only develops in relation to extreme physical stress.

When a person initially develops a Curling’s ulcer, he may not have noticeable symptoms. As time goes by, however, he may develop a burning pain in his abdominal region. A patient with this type of ulcer may also experience appetite loss. Eating doesn’t usually help to relieve the pain of a Curling’s ulcer, as it might when a person has a another type of ulcer condition.

An individual who has a Curling’s ulcer may also have bleeding that eventually becomes evident on the outside of his body. For example, he may vomit blood. In some cases, a person with this condition may pass blood when he has a bowel movement as well.

The severity of a patient’s overall condition influences how likely he is to develop a Curling’s ulcer. The most seriously injured patients are typically most at risk. The development of Curling’s ulcer is not related to non-stress-related ulcers. This means a person who has had a peptic ulcer in the past is usually not at additional risk of developing a Curling’s ulcer.

In most cases, doctors use acid suppression to treat patients who’ve been diagnosed with this type of ulcer. Prescription medications that suppress acid usually work to reduce bleeding in patients who have this type of ulcer and may also help curb some of their other symptoms. In addition to using acid suppressing medications to treat Curling’s ulcers, doctors may use them to prevent its development in patients who have injuries or conditions that put them at risk.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By Talentryto — On Feb 05, 2014

You should see your doctor with any type of stomach pain, because there are several types of ulcers that can be serious. There are also different medications available for the best possible treatment for each type of ulcer.

By Heavanet — On Feb 04, 2014

I've heard that Curling's ulcers can cause a lot of pain, and result in ulcer symptoms that are much more severe than usual. If you suspect you could have this condition, treatments such as ulcer diet or stomach medications may be needed to begin healing. See your doctor for a diagnosis and the best treatment available if you are concerned about this disease.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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