What is a peptic ulcer?
A peptic ulcer is an open sore developing in one’s digestive tract where the tissue lining is damaged from stomach acid and gastric juices. The term ‘peptic’ pertains to or is associated with the digestive system. Whereas ‘ulcer’ refers to a sore on the skin or mucous membrane that is accompanied by damage to the tissue.
Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a general phrase for the occurrence of ulcers in the digestive tract lining in either the stomach lining or the upper portion of the small intestine known as the duodenum.
The following are a few key points regarding peptic ulcers:
- Peptic ulcers are sores or erosions found in the gastrointestinal tract lining.
- The lining made of mucous membranes begins to erode and breakdown causing tissue damage.
- This damage will result in a burning pain that is felt in the middle upper area of the abdomen, this is typically the first symptom of peptic ulcers.
- The majority of peptics ulcers are very small, however, some of them can result in a considerable amount of abdominal pain.
The types of peptic ulcers include:
- Gastric ulcers – These types of peptic ulcers occur on the stomach lining.
- Duodenal ulcers – These types of peptic ulcers occur in the lining of the of the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum).
Peptic ulcers can affect anyone at any age, they are, however, more commonly seen in adults and less so in teenagers and children.
Fortunately, over the past 20 years there has been a great deal of research conducted on peptic ulcers and as a result, there are a number of effective therapies and treatments available for patients.