Supplementary Reading Compare gastritis with peptic ulcer (the causes, the symptoms).
Peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of your stomach or duodenum. The duodenum is the first part of your small intestine. If peptic ulcers are found in the stomach, they’re called gastric ulcers. If they’re found in the duodenum, they’re called duodenal ulcers. You can have more than one ulcer. Many people have peptic ulcers. Peptic ulcers can be treated successfully. Seeing your doctor is the first step. Peptic ulcers occur in the wall of the stomach and duodenum.
A burning pain in the gut is the most common symptom. The pain feels like a dull ache, comes and goes for a few days or weeks, starts 2 to 3 hours after a meal, comes in the middle of the night when your stomach is empty, usually goes away after you eat. Other symptoms are: losing weight, not feeling like eating, having pain while eating, feeling sick to your stomach, vomiting. Some people with peptic ulcers have mild symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, you may have a peptic ulcer and should see your doctor.
Peptic ulcers are caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and other diseases. Our body makes strong acids that digest food. A lining protects the inside of the stomach and duodenum from these acids. If the lining breaks down, the acids can damage the walls. Both H.pylori and NSAIDs weaken the lining so acid can reach the stomach or duodenal wall. H.pylori causes almost two-thirds of all ulcers. Many people have H.pylori infections. But not everyone who has an infection will develop a peptic ulcer.
Drinking alcohol or smoking, stress or spicy foods can make ulcers worse.