A peptic ulcer is a distinct chasm in the mucosal lining of the stomach (gastric ulcer) or the first part of the small intestine (duodenal ulcer)
No single cause has been discovered. However it is now clear that an ulcer is caused by the imbalance between digestive fluids in the stomach and duodenum.
Following causes are attributed to the formation of ulcer:
1) Infection with a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
2) Use of painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, and others), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Midol, and others), and many others available by prescription. Even safety-coated aspirin and aspirin in powered form can frequently cause ulcers.
You may be more likely to get a peptic ulcer caused by NSAIDs if you
- are elderly
- are taking more than two NSAIDs
- are taking NSAIDs and aspirin
- have taken NSAIDs regularly for a long timehave had a peptic ulcer before
- have two or more medical conditions or diseases
- are taking other medicines, such as steroids and medicines to increase bone mass
3) Excess acid production from gastrinomas, tumors of the acid producing cells of the stomach that increases acid output (seen in Zollinger-Ellison syndrome).
The Symptoms of an Ulcer
An ulcer may or may not have symptoms. When symptoms occur, they may include:
- A gnawing or burning pain in the middle or upper stomach between meals or at night
- Nausea or vomiting In severe cases, symptoms can include:
- Dark or black stool (due to bleeding)
- Vomiting blood (that can look like “coffee-grounds”)
- Weight loss
- Severe pain in the mid to upper abdomen
Peptic (Stomach) Ulcer
Symptoms of a Stomach Ulcer
How a peptic ulcer develops