A stomach ulcer, also known as a peptic ulcer, is a sore caused by errant stomach acid and digestive juices. Approximately ten percent of Americans develop ulcers. Ulcers can cause intermittent pain in the abdomen, weight loss, nausea
, bloody stool, and anemia
. There are certain lifestyle changes (such as reducing stress), drug therapies, and surgical procedures available to treat peptic ulcers.
There are several types of ulcers, all named for their anatomic locations. The most common peptic ulcer, known as a duodenal ulcer, occurs in the first few inches of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. Gastric ulcers are found in the upper curve of the stomach while esophageal ulcers are caused by repeated regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus.Helicobacter pylori
bacteria are now believed to be a major cause of peptic ulcers. Most people diagnosed with duodenal ulcers have the bacteria in their stomach. Antibiotics are usually prescribed when Helicobacter pylori
bacteria are thought to be the main cause of an ulcer.
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