Duodenitis: Care Instructions

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The duodenum and its location in the body

Your Care Instructions

The duodenum (say "doo-AW-duh-num") is the first part of the small intestine. It connects to the stomach. It's about 25 cm long and curved, almost forming a circle.

Duodenitis (say "doo-aw-duh-NY-tus") may feel like a sore and upset stomach. It happens when something irritates the lining of the duodenum. Many things can cause it. These include an infection such as the flu or something you ate or drank. Certain medicines or having a sore (ulcer) on the lining of the duodenum also can cause it. Your belly may bloat and ache. You may belch, vomit, and feel sick to your stomach.

You should be able to relieve the problem by taking medicine. And it may help to change your diet. If the problem lasts, your doctor may prescribe different medicine.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Be safe with medicines. If your doctor prescribed medicine to decrease stomach acid, take it as directed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Do not take any other medicine, including over-the-counter pain relievers, without talking to your doctor first.
  • If your doctor recommends over-the-counter medicine to reduce stomach acid, such as Pepcid, Losec, or Zantac, follow the directions on the label.
  • To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids. Choose water and other caffeine-free clear liquids until you feel better. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink.
  • Avoid coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and other foods with caffeine. They increase stomach acid.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your stools are maroon or very bloody.
  • You vomit blood or what looks like coffee grounds.

Call your doctor or nurse call now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You start breathing fast and have not produced urine in the last 8 hours.
  • You are sick to your stomach or cannot drink fluids.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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