What Are Peptic Ulcers?
Locations for a peptic ulcer include the inner lining of the stomach, known as a gastric ulcer; the lining of the small intestine, or duodenum, known as a duodenal ulcer; and the lining of the esophagus, known as an esophageal ulcer. As the protective layer is broken down, the hydrochloric acid in the digestive juices causes damage to the esophagus, stomach or intestinal tissue. The most common types of ulcer are the duodenal and gastric.
The most common causes for peptic ulcers, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, are the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
Symptoms of an ulcer may include stomach pain or burning, nausea, poor appetite and weight loss. Sudden sharp stomach pain and bloody stools or vomit could indicate an ulcer has perforated the stomach or duodenal wall or broken through a blood vessel. This is an emergency, and you should seek medical treatment right away.