What is Peptic Ulcer Disease?

Peptic ulcer disease refers to painful sores or ulcers in the lining of the stomach or first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum. The stomach lining is typically protected by a thick layer of mucus. When this layer is damaged, ulcers occur.

What Causes Peptic Ulcer Disease?

No single cause has been found for ulcers. However, it is now clear that an ulcer is the end result of an imbalance between digestive fluids in the stomach and duodenum. 

Ulcers can be caused by:

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection
  • Use of painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofens, among others
  • Excess acid production

What are the Symptoms of Peptic Ulcer Disease?

Symptoms of ulcers may or may not occur, but include:

  • A gnawing or burning pain in the middle or upper stomach between meals or at night
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting

In severe cases, symptoms can include:

  • Dark or black stool (due to bleeding)
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Severe pain in the mid- to upper abdomen

What is the Treatment for Peptic Ulcer Disease?

Treatment of peptic ulcer disease usually involves a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and in more severe cases, surgery.

Have questions about peptic ulcer disease?

Schedule an Appointment

Prevention & Treatment

Upper Endoscopy (EGD)

A procedure that uses a thin scope with a light and camera to view the upper digestive system. Learn more about this procedure and schedule an appointment with a Gastro Health physician at a convenient location.

Learn More