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Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are open sores that develop on the lining of the stomach. Ulcers can also occur in part of the intestine just beyond the stomach – these are known as duodenal ulcers.

Stomach ulcers are easily cured, but they can become severe without proper treatment.


Stomach ulcers aren’t necessarily caused by one single factor. The decrease in the stomach’s mucus lining that leads to an ulcer is usually caused by one of the following:

  • an infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)

  • long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen

  • excess acid (hyperacidity) in the stomach, which may be related to genetics, lifestyle (stress, smoking), and certain foods

  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a rare disease that makes the body produce excess stomach acid


The most common symptom is a burning sensation or pain in the area between your chest and belly button. Normally, the pain will be more intense when your stomach is empty and it can last for a few minutes or several hours.


Other common symptoms include:

  • dull pain in the stomach

  • weight loss

  • not wanting to eat because of pain

  • a gnawing or burning pain in the middle or upper stomach between meals or at night

  • nausea or vomiting

  • bloating

  • trouble breathing


Treatment will vary depending on the cause of your ulcer. Most ulcers can be treated with a prescription from your doctor, but in rare cases, surgery may be required.


It’s important to promptly treat an ulcer. Talk to your doctor to discuss a treatment plan. If you have an actively bleeding ulcer, you’ll likely be hospitalized for intensive treatment with IV ulcer medications, and you may also require blood transfusion.


To prevent the spread of bacteria and reduce risk of bacterial infection, wash your hands with soap and water on a regular basis. Make sure all food is properly cleaned and cooked thoroughly.


To prevent ulcers caused by NSAIDs, stop using these medications (if possible) or limit their use. If you need to take NSAIDs, be sure to follow the recommended dosage and avoid alcohol while taking these medications.


Certain lifestyle changes can also help prevent ulcers from forming thereby contributing to a healthy stomach lining.




Culled from Staywellworld blog post dated February 15, 2017.

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