Gastric ulcer (stomach ulcer)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Gastric ulcer (stomach ulcer) (Disease)


A stomach or gastric ulcer is a break in the tissue lining the stomach. The term peptic ulcer refers to those that occur in either the stomach or the first part of the small intestine that leads out of the stomach, called the duodenum.

The signs and symptoms of gastric ulcer can be constant or sporadic, and the disease course varies among individuals. If H pylori is the cause, the symptoms will remain as long as the infection is untreated. Some people with gastric ulcers have no symptoms at all, while others may have burning pain, severe nausea, and vomiting.

Causes and Risk factors

It was once commonly thought that stress, smoking and diet were the principal causes of stomach ulcers. However, the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium is now known to be responsible for most duodenal ulcers and 60 per cent of stomach ulcers. The H. pylori bacterium also prompts many symptoms of dyspepsia, or indigestion.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In the case of H pylori-related gastric ulcers, the infection can be treated successfully with antibiotics. For gastric ulcer not related to H pylori, antacids or other medications are an effective treatment. The risk of H pylori bacteria infection can be reduced by following commonsense hygiene practices such as washing hands with soap and water prior to preparing food and after handling dirty diapers or using the bathroom. ...

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