A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of the stomach or on the beginning of the small intestine or at the end of oesophagus. If the peptic ulcer is in the stomach it is called a gastric ulcer. The ulcer in the small intestine is duodenal ulcer. One can have both ulcers at the same time and can develop these more than once in his/her lifetime. Peptic ulcers are common in the world.

The stomach produces acid to help to digest the food. The lining of the stomach and the beginning of the small intestine have a layer of mucus which protects them from the acid. If there are problems in this protection mechanism the acid can eat into the stomach or intestine linings and can cause an ulcer.

The causes of peptic ulcers include:

• Stomach infection by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. About half of the world’s population is infected, but it does not cause always ulcer
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause peptic ulcers. Examples include aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen
• Smoking tobacco products
• Drinking excess alcohol
• Stress can also increase the production of acid in the stomach
When the mucus lining is damaged the acid can cause inflammation which can lead to peptic ulcer.

The symptoms of peptic ulcers include:

• Pain when the stomach is empty
• Pain can be relieved by eating food
• Difficulty in swallowing food
• Weight loss without dieting
• Nausea
• Bloating
• Heartburn
• Bitter taste in the mouth
• Regurgitating food

The alarm symptoms include:

• Blood in the vomit
• Bloody or black stools
• Sharp, sudden, persistent and severe abdominal pain

The alarm symptoms can be noticed when acid or the peptic ulcer breaks a blood vessel or

The peptic ulcer blocks the way of food trying to leave the stomach to the small intestine or

The ulcer may eat very deeply into the wall of your stomach or small intestine making a hole.

When there is a blood loss the chance of anaemia is there.

You must go to your doctor immediately. He will do the necessary checks and treat you.

Do not have foods or drinks which give you more severe symptoms. The spicy food can give problems, but hot chillies helps to prevent peptic ulcers. Milk increases the symptoms by producing more acid. Avoid alcohol and it is good to stop smoking. Your doctor can advise you which pain killers are better.

With medicines your doctor can cure your peptic ulcers today.