On the advice of his doctor, legendary singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen, who recently turned 74, postponed his worldwide tour to continue recovering from a digestive condition that many people born in the U.S.A. can relate to: peptic ulcer disease.
“Thanks to all my friends and fans for your good wishes, encouragement and support,” he posted on Instagram on Sept 27.
“I’m on the mend and can’t wait to see you all next year.”
A statement shared on his Instagram reads, “Bruce Springsteen has continued to recover steadily from peptic ulcer disease over the past few weeks and will continue treatment through the rest of the year on doctor’s advice.”
Starting this February, the tour was his first since 2017 with the E Street Band. It originally began in the United States, then continued through Britain and Europe before the band returned to the U.S. in August.
Springsteen previously canceled eight shows earlier this month in hopes of resuming his tour in Canada starting in November.
But he later posted on social media that “out of an abundance of caution” all 2023 shows are canceled.
What is peptic ulcer disease?
After we place food into our mouths, our teeth combined with enzymes in our mouth help break down the food before it winds down the esophagus into our stomach.
This triggers the stomach to produce acid as well as special enzymes to break down the food into even smaller particles, so that nutrients can be absorbed later in the small intestine.
“Peptic ulcer disease is essentially the wearing away of the lining of the stomach and/or the small intestine.”
The stomach doesn’t digest itself because it has a special protective mucus lining.
As long as the special factors that line the stomach and the digestive acidic juices meant to break up food are in balance with each other, the stomach acid doesn’t damage its own protective coating.
“Peptic ulcer disease is essentially the wearing away of the lining of the stomach and/or the small intestine,” Dr. Arnab Ray, section head of General Gastroenterology at Ochsner Health in New Orleans, Louisiana, told Fox News Digital in an email.
“The disease is most commonly associated with a bacterial infection called helicobacter pylori [H. pylori], which causes inflammation in the stomach.”
Many people have this bacteria in their body without ever developing an ulcer, according to Penn Medicine.
NSAIDS may cause ulcers
“You can also develop peptic ulcer disease from the use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), more commonly known as ibuprofen,” Ray added.
NSAIDS are a class of medications available by prescription and over-the-counter to treat pain, fever or inflammatory conditions.
Some examples include naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Motrin) and aspirin (Bayer), according to Cleveland Clinic.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, having stress, smoking cigarettes or being very ill in the hospital are also risk factors for ulcers.
Ibuprofen and naproxen are available over-the-counter at lower strengths.
They work by blocking an enzyme in the body known as cyclooxygenase that makes prostaglandins, which cause inflammation, fever and associated pain.
People experience less pain as prostaglandins are reduced in the body.
But prostaglandins also help protect the stomach lining, so certain NSAIDS that selectively block the enzyme can lead to ulcers.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, having stress, smoking cigarettes or being very ill in the hospital are also risk factors for ulcers, per Penn Medicine.
Symptoms of the disease
“Symptoms of peptic ulcer disease include burning abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and bleeding,” Ray told Fox News Digital.
The most common symptom is abdominal pain, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Some may describe the abdominal pain as a full or burning sensation that comes and goes or pain that worsens with eating.
The pain is often in the upper part of the abdomen, anywhere between the belly button and the breastbone that mimics stomach indigestion.
Some may describe the pain as a full or burning sensation that comes and goes or pain that worsens with eating.
The pain may also worsen at night or when the stomach is empty — and depending on the location of the ulcer, the pain may disappear for a little bit after eating.
Watch for signs of bleeding
Sometimes peptic ulcers can lead to complications, which are often associated with bleeding.
It’s important to seek urgent medical attention if you start to have black stools or notice stools that are mixed with blood.
Other red flags are vomiting blood or vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds.
People should see a doctor right away if the abdominal pain worsens or refuses to go away.
Other signs of bleeding are feeling lightheaded or like you’re going to faint, according to the NIH.
Diagnosis of peptic ulcer disease
Sometimes X-rays and CT scans provide clues that an ulcer is present, added Ray of General Gastroenterology at Ochsner Health.
“We typically diagnose peptic ulcer disease with an endoscopy (EGD) to look at the stomach and intestines with a camera and take samples if necessary,” Ray told Fox News Digital.
Under sedation, the EGD is a scope that is passed through the mouth, into the esophagus, then into the stomach.
A gastroenterologist visualizes any abnormalities in real time on a screen because a light and camera are attached to the scope at the end, according to the NIH.
“Treatment time can be up to 8 to 12 weeks.”
During the procedure, the doctor usually also takes samples of part of the stomach lining so that a pathologist can rule out the bacteria, H. pylori, that is known to cause ulcers.
The EGD also allows doctors to cauterize a bleeding vessel when the ulcer erodes into a blood vessel.
“To treat peptic ulcer disease, we generally start with identifying the cause and treating with an acid-reducing medication,” the doctor noted.
The therapy also involves antibiotics if H pylori is discovered on biopsy.
“Treatment time can be up to 8 to 12 weeks,” he added.