A peptic ulcer is a sore that happens when the digestive juices produced by the stomach eat away or erode the lining of the digestive tract. Peptic ulcers may form in the lining of the stomach (gastric ulcers) or just below the stomach, at the start of the small intestine (duodenal ulcers).
Some peptic ulcers are stomach ulcers. And some peptic ulcers are in the first part of the intestine (duodenum).
The most common causes of peptic ulcers are infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria and frequent use of aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Common symptoms of an ulcer include:
Treatment with medicine usually is effective at relieving symptoms caused by peptic ulcers. When the ulcer is caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the right combination of antibiotics can cure the ulcer disease. Surgery may be needed if the ulcer causes excess bleeding in the digestive tract or if a hole (perforation) develops in the stomach or intestine.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise