Gastrointestinal Diseases

Peptic Ulcer

Peptic Ulcer:
It is a deep wound in the Gastrointestinal tract lining; due to erosion of the inner membrane lining the upper part of the digestive tract that can cause stomach pain or stomach upset, or lead to internal bleeding, in some cases the peptic ulcer heals without treatment, but untreated ulcers tend to recur, as many people with ulcers need treatment to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.

Types of peptic ulcer:

  • A peptic ulcer forms on the stomach lining.
  • Duodenal ulcer (formed on the upper part of the small intestine).

Peptic ulcers are formed when stomach acids erode the digestive tract lining, as this can happen when there is an excess of acid, or when the protective layer of mucus breaks down on the stomach lining (making it more susceptible to damage), there are two main causes of peptic ulcers:

  • Helicobacter pylori infection: It is a type of bacteria that lives in the digestive tract. Most people with Helicobacter do not get ulcers, but others get them, because the bacteria can cause the following, which contributes to peptic ulcers formation:
  1. Increase acid amount in the stomach and small intestine.
  2. Digestive tract lining inflammation
  3. Collapse of protective mucosa layer
  • Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as they cause changes in the protective mucous layer of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to ulcers in some people.

Risk Factors:

  • Taking painkillers for a long time (e.g. ibuprofen).
  • Excessive drinking of stimulants (as they increase acid secretions).
  • Previous peptic ulcer.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Smoking.

 Many people with ulcers have no symptoms, but some may experience:

  • Burning pain in the upper abdomen (The abdomen between Sternum and Umbilicus).
  • Epigastric pain.
  • Indigestion and Eructation.
  • Feeling (gaseous distention) gas-full and bloated.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue and exhaustion.
  • Repeated vomiting.
  • Anorexia.

The symptoms of gastric and duodenal ulcers may resemble other digestive problems.

When to see a doctor:
When experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Blood appearance in vomit or vomit resembles coffee.
  • The stool is black, or blood appears in it.
  • Difficult breathing.
  • Feeling Fatigue and Faint.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Continued sharp and sudden pain in the stomach.

Stomach ulcers complications are relatively uncommon, but it can be very serious and life-threatening:

  • Stomach Bleeding or small intestine bleeding.
  • Stomach or small intestine perforation.
  • Gastrointestinal tract obstruction prevents food transfer from the stomach to the duodenum.
  • Anemia due to bleeding.


  • Medical History.
  • Clinical Examination:
  • Laboratory tests: Stool examination.
  • Breathing test with drinking urea-containing liquid.
  • Upper Endoscopy.
  • Other tests: CT scan, X-ray with barium.

 Treatment can include lifestyle changes, or taking medications that include:

  • Antibiotics to get rid of the helicobacter pylori (if any).
  • Proton pump inhibitor that reduces stomach acid production.
  • Antacids to relieve symptoms.
  • Histamine receptor blockers.
  • In rare cases, surgery may be required.


  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Smoking Cessation.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid eating foods of unknown origin.
  • Avoid taking over-the-counter medications.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions when taking medications.

Last Update : 23 August 2023 01:27 PM
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