An ulcer is any break in the skin or in a mucous membrane. Mucous membrane is a thin tissue that lines the interior surface of body openings. The term ulcer is used most commonly to refer to ulcers that occur in the upper part of the digestive system, such as peptic ulcers. At one time, doctors believed that ulcers were caused by too much stress. However, it is now known that bacterial infection accounts for more than three-quarters of all peptic ulcers.
A peptic ulcer is an ulcer caused by stomach acid. An ulcer is where the lining of the gut is damaged and the underlying tissue is exposed. If you could see inside your gut, an ulcer looks like a small, red crater on the inside lining of the gut.
An ulcer is an open sore that forms when the lining of the gut is corroded by acidic digestive juices. Peptic ulcers can form in the lining of the stomach (gastric ulcers), duodenum (the first part of the small bowel or intestine) or the esophagus (gullet or swallowing tube). Peptic ulcers are quite common; it is known that 5-10% of the world’s population suffer from peptic ulcers at least once.
An ulcer is an area of the stomach or duodenal (the first part of the small intestine) lining that becomes eroded by the stomach acid. Known individually as stomach and duodenal ulcers, collectively they are known as peptic ulcers. Learn about the symptoms and causes of peptic ulcers.
Peptic ulcers are occasionally painless. However, the most common symptom is a dull ache in the upper abdomen that usually occurs two to three hours after a meal; the ache is relieved by eating. Other common symptoms include weight loss, bloating, belching, and nausea. Untreated, peptic ulcers often bleed and may cause sharp burning pain in the area of the stomach or just below it.
The symptoms of peptic ulcer are sharp and severe pain and discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen. Gastric ulcer pain usually occurs an hour after meals and rarely at night. Duodenal ulcer pain usually occurs between meals when the stomach is empty. The pain is relieved by food, especially milk. As the disease progresses, there is distension of the stomach due to excessive flatulence, mental tension, insomnia, and gradual weakening of the body. Blood may also be detected in the stool.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Normally, the lining of the stomach and small intestines have protection against the irritating acids produced in your stomach. For a variety of reasons, the protective mechanisms may become faulty, leading to a breakdown of the lining. This results in inflammation (gastritis ) or an ulcer.
The most common cause of such damage is infection of the stomach with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori). Most people with peptic ulcers have this organism living in their gastrointestinal (GI) tract. On the other hand, many people have this organism living in their GI tract but they don’t get an ulcer.
The diet of the patient suffering from a peptic ulcer should be so planned as to provide adequate nutrition, while affording rest to the disturbed organs, maintaining continuous neutralisation of the gastric acid, inhibiting the production of acid, and reducing mechanical and chemical irritation. Milk, cream, butter, fruits, fresh raw and boiled vegetables, natural foods, and natural vitamin supplements constitute the best diet.