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Who is affected by peptic ulcer disease

About 1 out of 10 people in Europe and North America will have a peptic ulcer at some time.1 Ulcers can occur at any age, but they are rare in children. Children who do have ulcers are more likely to have duodenal, rather than gastric, ulcers.

Peptic ulcer disease tends to occur in people who are also infected with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria or who use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

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  • About 10 out of 100 people who are infected with H. pylori develop peptic ulcer disease.2
  • About 25 out of 100 people who use high doses of NSAIDs, such as people who have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, develop peptic ulcer disease. About 3 out of 100 will have problems caused by ulcers, such as bleeding and perforation.3


  1. Cryer B, Spechler SJ (2006). Peptic ulcer disease. In M Feldman et al., eds., Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 8th ed., vol. 1, pp. 1089-1110. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

  2. Feldman M, Le MS (2007). Peptic ulcer diseases. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 4, chap. 2. New York: WebMD.

  3. Lanza FL, et al. (2009). Guidelines for prevention of NSAID-related ulcer complications. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 104(3): 728-738.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Last Revised January 28, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 28, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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