Peptic Ulcers, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.



Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a break in the inner lining of the stomach, first part of the small intestine or sometimes the lower esophagus. An ulcer in the stomach is called a gastric ulcer, while that in the first part of the intestines is a duodenal ulcer. The most common symptoms of a duodenal ulcer are waking at night with upper abdominal pain or upper abdominal pain that improves with eating. With a gastric ulcer the pain may worsen with eating. The pain is often described as a burning or dull ache. Other symptoms include belching, vomiting, weight loss, or poor appetite. About a third of older people have no symptoms.Complications may include bleeding, perforation and blockage of the stomach.Bleeding occurs in as many as 15% of people.

Common causes include the bacteria Helicobacter pylori and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other less common causes include tobacco smoking, stress due to serious illness, Behcet disease, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, Crohn disease and liver cirrhosis, among others.Older people are more sensitive to the ulcer-causing effects of NSAIDs.The diagnosis is typically suspected due to the presenting symptoms with confirmation by either endoscopy or barium swallow. H. pylori can be diagnosed by testing the blood for antibodies, a urea breath test, testing the stool for signs of the bacteria, or a biopsy of the stomach. Other conditions that produce similar symptoms include stomach cancer, coronary heart disease, and inflammation of the stomach lining or gallbladder inflammation.

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