Ulcer - peptic; Ulcer - duodenal; Ulcer - gastric; Duodenal ulcer; Gastric ulcer; Dyspepsia - ulcers
A peptic ulcer is erosion in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine, an area called the duodenum.
If the peptic ulcer is located in the stomach, it is called a gastric ulcer.
Normally, the lining of the stomach and small intestines are protected against the irritating acids produced in your stomach. If this protective lining stops working correctly, and the lining breaks down, it results in inflammation (gastritis) or an ulcer.
Most ulcers occur in the first layer of the inner lining. A hole that goes all the way through the stomach or duodenum is called a perforation. A perforation is a medical emergency.
The most common cause of such damage is infection of the stomach by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori). Most people with peptic ulcers have these bacteria living in their gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Yet, many people who have such bacteria in their stomach do not develop an ulcer.
The following also raise your risk for peptic ulcers:
A rare condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome causes stomach and duodenal ulcers. Persons with this disease have a tumor in the pancreas that releases high levels of a hormone, which causes an increase in stomach acid.
Many people believe that stress causes ulcers. It is not clear if this is true, at least for everyday stress at home.
Ramakrishnan K, Salinas RC. Peptic ulcer disease. Am Fam Physician. 2007;76:1005-1012.
Chey WD, Wong BC. American College of Gastroenterology guideline on the management of Helicobacter pylori infection. Am J Gastroenterol. Aug 2007;102:1808-1825.
Malagelada JR, Kuipers EJ, Blaser MJ. Acid peptic disease: clinical manifestations, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 142.
Lanza FL, Chan FK, Quigley EM; Practice Parameters Committee of the American College of Gastroenterology. Guidelines for prevention of NSAID-related ulcer complications. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104:728-738.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885