- Bruce Springsteen has peptic ulcer disease, a condition where open sores develop in the stomach or small intestine that can be painful and debilitating.
- Treatment depends on where the ulcers are and how deep they are.
- Most cases are self-resolving or improve with medications, like proton pump inhibitors.
- Gastroenterologists expect Springsteen to make a full recovery.
Bruce Springsteen has postponed his upcoming shows as he’s currently receiving medical treatment for peptic ulcer disease.
The singer, age 73, made the announcement on Instagram Wednesday.
“Mr. Springsteen is being treated for symptoms of peptic ulcer disease and the decision of his medical advisors is that he should postpone the remainder of his September shows,” the post stated.
Peptic ulcer disease occurs when open sores, known as ulcers, develop in the stomach or small intestine, otherwise known as the duodenum.
Peptic ulcer disease can be painful and significantly impact a person’s ability to function — especially if they have a larger ulcer that extends deep into the stomach or intestine.
“Some of these ulcers can be quite painful and inhibit certain patients from being able to perform their daily tasks without distraction,” Dr. Sherif Andrawes, Director, Gastroenterology at Staten Island University Hospital, told Healthline.
Typically, the stomach is lined with a thick layer of mucus that protects it from acidic digestive juices.
An ulcer occurs when the stomach or intestinal lining erodes. These open sores may bleed and cause stomach pain.
According to Dr. Judith Kim, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Health, the most common causes of peptic ulcer disease include a bacterial infection with H. pylori or use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Risk factors for peptic ulcer disease include smoking, alcohol consumption, genetic factors, diet, and some medications including corticosteroids. People taking blood thinners have an increased risk of bleeding from ulcers.
Peptic ulcer disease is more likely to occur in
“There is similar prevalence in men and women, though stomach ulcers tend to be more common in women and ulcers in the intestine more common in men,” says Kim.
Symptoms of peptic ulcer disease vary, depending on where the ulcers are located.
Common symptoms include:
- abdominal pain
- excessive belching
- early fullness upon eating
In severe cases, it can lead to dark or black stool due to bleeding, along with weight loss and severe pain.
Some people may develop symptoms of anemia, including pale skin and shortness of breath, says Dr. Rudolph Bedford, a gastroenterologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA
Often, but not always, the pain occurs within 15 to 30 minutes after eating.
The pain caused by peptic ulcer disease can be debilitating.
“The symptoms have variable effects on the quality of the patient’s life depending on the severity of the disease and the length in which it went untreated,” says Andrawes.
In some cases, however, peptic ulcers may be asymptomatic, says Kim.
Treatment is based on where the disease is in the body and how serious the ulcers are.
Upper endoscopy is used for diagnosis in any case where the results are likely to influence the patient’s management or if the initial treatment with medications hasn’t helped. It can also be used to treat bleeding peptic ulcers or obtain a biopsy to evaluate for cancer.
Occasionally, surgery may be needed.
Many people’s symptoms will improve with medications that impact acid production in the stomach.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce stomach acid production and let the ulcers heal.
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Aciphex (Rabeprazole)
- Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
Histamine receptor blockers, such as Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac, also help reduce acid production.
People who test positive for H. pylori may need a course of antibiotics to kill off the bacteria.
Lifestyle modifications, like avoiding NSAIDS and other irritations like tobacco and alcohol, and limiting spicy and acidic foods can aid recovery, too.
According to Andrawes, fasting can exacerbate symptoms, as stomach acid will irritate the lining of the stomach since it has no food to digest.
Many cases are self-resolving and the majority of people improve with the right treatment and dietary habits, says Andrawes.
“People fully recover without further issues and I certainly expect the same for Mr. Springsteen,” says Bedford.
Bruce Springsteen has peptic ulcer disease, a condition where open sores develop in the stomach or small intestine that can be painful and debilitating.
Treatment depends on where the ulcers are and how deep they are.
Most cases are self-resolving or improve with medications, like proton pump inhibitors.
Gastroenterologists expect Springsteen to make a full recovery.