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Peptic Ulcer – what are the causes, signs and symptoms

The duodenum is the first part of your small intestine. A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of your stomach or duodenum. A rash in the upper portion of the small intestine or in the stomach lining is called peptic ulcer. A peptic ulcer of the stomach is called a gastric ulcer; of the duodenum, a duodenal ulcer.

Causes of Peptic Ulcer

– Helicobacter pylori : It is usually caused by a bacterial infection of Helicobacter pylori. It weakens the protective mucous coating of the stomach and duodenum, allowing acid to get through to the sensitive lining beneath. Both the acid and the bacteria can irritate the lining and cause an ulcer to form.
– Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Long-term use of these pain relievers is the second most common cause of ulcers. These drugs block prostaglandins, substances in the stomach that help maintain blood flow and protect the area from injury.
– Cigarette smoking not only causes ulcer formation, but also increases the risk of ulcer complications such as ulcer bleeding, stomach obstruction and perforation.
– Evidences suggest that life stresses or personality types contribute to ulcer disease.
– Alcohol, coffee, colas, spicy foods, and caffeine have no proven role in ulcer formation.

Signs and Symptoms of Peptic Ulcer

– Sharp and severe pain and discomfort in the upper central abdomen.
– Ulcer pain occurs usually an hour after meals.
– It rarely occurs in night.
– Duodenal ulcer usually occurs between meals when stomach is empty and is relieved by food.
– The pain lasts for minutes to hours.
– It comes and goes for several days or weeks.
– Some other symptoms may include weight loss, poor appetite, bloating, burping, vomiting and
feeling sick to your stomach.
– Sudden sharp stomach pain that doesn’t go away.
– Black or bloody stools.
– Bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

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