The duodenum, located just beyond the stomach, is the small intestine's initial segment. Duodenitis pertains to the inflammation of the duodenum's lining.

Causes of Duodenitis

  • Helicobacter pylori Infection: Often found in the stomach of even asymptomatic individuals, H. pylori can stimulate the stomach to produce more acid, leading to duodenal inflammation. This bacterial infection plays a significant role in duodenitis onset.
  • Use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): These are among the most frequently consumed medicines. Their usage can amplify gastric acidity and weaken the mucus barrier. Issues often arise with prolonged NSAID consumption or overuse for a short duration. Examples include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
  • Additional Risk Factors: While these factors elevate the risk, not everyone exposed will develop duodenitis.
    • High stomach acid secretion
    • Smoking
    • Alcohol overconsumption
    • Crohn’s disease (a form of inflammatory bowel disease)
    • Previous radiation therapy sessions
    • Stress or acute illnesses
    • Infections, whether bacterial, fungal, or viral
    • Trauma to the stomach or the small intestine

Symptoms of Duodenitis

  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Feelings of bloating or indigestion
  • Nausea, with or without the urge to vomit
  • Reduced appetite
  • Presence of blood in stools, which might appear red, black, or tar-like


  • Endoscopy: This procedure examines the stomach and duodenum using an endoscope, a tube equipped with a camera and light. Tissue samples might be taken for testing.
  • Blood Tests: Useful for detecting infections.
  • Breath Test: Determines if H. pylori is the inflammation's culprit. After consuming a specific liquid, you'll exhale into a bag. Elevated carbon dioxide levels can indicate an H. pylori infection.

Treatment Approaches

Your treatment plan will hinge on the root cause of duodenitis.

  • Antibiotics target and eliminate H. pylori.
  • Medications may be prescribed to curb stomach acid production.
  • Discontinuing NSAIDs, including aspirin and ibuprofen, might be recommended. If you rely on aspirin for other health conditions, consult your physician before discontinuation. Likewise, if NSAIDs are taken for pain or arthritis, discuss potential alternatives with your healthcare provider.
  • It's advised to refrain from alcohol consumption and smoking.

Prevention Measures for Duodenitis

  • Steer clear of smoking.
  • Moderate your alcohol intake or abstain entirely.
  • Only take NSAIDs or aspirin when prescribed.
  • Avoid foods that might irritate your system.