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Peptic Ulcer Causes and Types: What You Need to Know

Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, MD · General Practitioner · Maxicare Primary Care Center

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Feb 17, 2021

    Peptic Ulcer Causes and Types: What You Need to Know

    Peptic ulcers are a type of sore or ulcer found in the stomach or the small intestine. Knowing more about peptic ulcer causes and types helps us take better care of our digestive system, and lower the risk of developing this condition.

    Peptic Ulcer Causes and Types

    Peptic ulcers are different from other types of ulcers in that they develop when digestive juices eat away at the lining of the stomach or small intestine.

    Normally, the lining of the stomach and intestine is protected by a layer of mucus. This mucus acts as a barrier that prevents the lining from coming in direct contact with stomach acids and digestive juices.

    However, there are certain factors that can cause this lining to slowly wear away. Once this lining wears away, digestive juices can damage the stomach lining. This causes sores called ulcers to develop in the stomach or small intestine.

    Here are some of the possible reasons why this happens:

    • Long-term use of pain medication, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.
    • Bacterial infection commonly caused by H. pylori.

    One common misconception about ulcers is that stress or foods cause them to develop. However, scientists have found that this is not the case.

    Though, it is possible for stress and certain foods to make the symptoms of ulcers worse.

    Gastric vs Duodenal Ulcer: What are the key differences?

    Types of Peptic Ulcers

    There are 2 types of peptic ulcers: gastric and duodenal. These differ in the symptoms as well as the location in the digestive tract.

    Gastric Ulcer

    Gastric ulcers are a type of peptic ulcer found in the stomach. They develop when the stomach lining is eaten away and the digestive juices damage the lining itself.

    The most common symptoms associated with it are the following:

    It is possible for people with gastric ulcers to only experience mild symptoms. Though, it is possible that over time, the condition can get worse if it is not treated immediately.

    If your gastric ulcer is caused by the H. pylori bacteria, then your doctor might prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. They might also prescribe medication to reduce the acids produced by the stomach.

    If a gastric ulcer was caused by taking too much pain medication, then a type of drug called a proton pump inhibitor or PPI might be prescribed. A change in diet can also help relieve the symptoms of gastric ulcers.

    Gastric ulcers can also go away after a few months. But there is a possibility that it will recur again sometime in the future.

    Duodenal Ulcer

    Duodenal ulcers are a type of peptic ulcer in the lining of the duodenum, or the first part of the small intestine.

    Similar to gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers can stem from too much pain medication or an infection by the H. pylori bacteria.

    The symptoms of a duodenal ulcer are also similar to a gastric ulcer, and most people with duodenal ulcers experience indigestion, nausea, and a burning sensation in their stomach.

    When it comes to treatment, the same methods of treatment for gastric ulcers are also applicable for duodenal ulcers.

    What is the Peptic Ulcer Diet?

    One way of managing peptic ulcers is to go on the peptic ulcer diet. This diet helps people lessen the symptoms of their ulcers and lets their stomach recover.

    Here is how to go about it:

    • Eat foods that are rich in fiber and vitamin A. This means eating more fruits and vegetables, and eating less meat, fatty foods, and processed foods.
    • Avoid drinking coffee and alcohol. Instead, try drinking green tea, which can help protect against ulcers.
    • Try to avoid eating spicy foods. Spicy foods don’t cause ulcers specifically, but they can sometimes trigger the symptoms.

    By following these tips, as well as your doctor’s advice, you can easily recover from ulcers as well as lower your risk of developing ulcers in the future.

    Learn more about Digestive Health here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Elfred Landas, MD

    General Practitioner · Maxicare Primary Care Center

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Feb 17, 2021

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