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Conditions InDepth: Peptic Ulcer Disease

A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or intestine. They are named based on their location. Gastric ulcers are in the stomach. Duodenal ulcers are in the first part of the small intestine.

Most peptic ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection from H. pylori or irritating medicines, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Gastric Ulcer

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Ulcers can lead to health problems, such as:

  • Bleeding —When the stomach or intestine lining bleed due to severe inflammation
  • Perforation —An ulcer that burns through the wall of the stomach and allows contents to leak out
  • Obstruction —Scarring from ulcers that blocks flow through the stomach and duodenum

Duodenal Ulcer

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National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Dyspepsia and gastro-esophageal reflux disease: Investigation and management of dyspepsia, symptoms suggestive of gastro-esophageal reflux disease, or both. NICE 2014 Sep:CG184.

Peptic ulcer disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated April 2, 2018. Accessed February 3, 2020.

Peptic ulcer disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated January 2020. Accessed February 3, 2020.

Peptic ulcers (stomach ulcers). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: Updated November 2014. Accessed February 3, 2020.

Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD