Peptic Ulcer: Definition, Types, Causes, Symptoms Complications and Prevention

Peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum. Peptic ulcer happens when the acid responsible for digestion corrode the mucosa lining of your stomach or duodenum.

The most common symptom of peptic ulcer is burning stomach pain which can be felt between the belly button and breast bone. This pain get worse when your stomach is empty or at night. The pain often fluctuates and can persist for hours to days.

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Types of Peptic Ulcer

There are two major types of peptic ulcer namely:

  1. Gastric ulcer: This type of ulcer occur in the stomach.
  2. Duodenal ulcer: This type occur at the upper part of the small intestine, the duodenum is responsible for digestion and absorption.

Causes of peptic ulcer

There are two main causes of peptic ulcer,

  • Helicobacter pylori bacteria: This bacteria is the leading cause of peptic ulcer. Sometimes this bacteria causes no problem but at times it damage the mucous layer of the stomach resulting in ulcer
  • Prolonged use of non steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): NSAIDS such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, aspirin are commonly used for pain relief because of their effectiveness. When they are used for a long period of time, it start irritating the stomach lining leading to ulceration.

peptic ulcer scan
A scan showing peptic ulcer

Risk factors

  1. Smoking: Smoking can damage the mucosa lining of the stomach causing ulcer.
  2. Alcohol intake: People that take too much alcohol are susceptible to peptic ulcer than those who don’t because alcohol increase stomach acidity level.
  3. Stress: Prolonged stress can also trigger or worsen existing peptic ulcer.
  4. Spicy foods: This doesn’t cause peptic ulcer but is one of the contributing factor. Eating spicy food irritates the mucosa lining in your stomach or duodenum


  • Burning stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Belching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloody or tarry stools


  1. Internal bleeding
  2. Infection
  3. Bowel obstruction


  1. Avoid taking alcohol
  2. Use over the counter pain relief medications especially NSAIDS in moderation, don’t abuse it.
  3. Reduce or quit smoking
  4. Prevent infection: Always maintain personal hygiene, wash your hands thoroughly as many times as possible in a day. Also, make sure your food are well cooked before eating.

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Do you have ulcer? What are the symptoms you experience and what aggravate them? Thanks so much for reading. Remember to subscribe and share this post.


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