Multispeciality and Family Care Clinics

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Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) is a condition characterized by the development of open sores or ulcers in the lining of the stomach, upper part of the small intestine (duodenum), or sometimes in the esophagus. These ulcers form when the protective layer of mucus in the stomach and duodenum is compromised, allowing stomach acid to erode the tissues and create wounds.

The primary causes of peptic ulcers include:

1. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection: This bacterium is one of the most common causes of peptic ulcers. It weakens the protective mucous layer and allows stomach acid to damage the lining.
2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Regular use of NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can irritate the stomach lining and increase the risk of developing ulcers.
Other factors that may contribute to the development of peptic ulcers include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, and genetics.

Symptoms of peptic ulcers may vary, but common signs include:

  • 1. Burning stomach pain: The pain can range from mild to severe and is often located in the upper abdomen.
  • 2. Nausea and vomiting.
  • 3. Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • 4. Feeling full or bloated.
  • 5. Belching or burping.
  • 6. Dark, tarry stools (indicating bleeding in the stomach).
  • 7. Vomiting blood or coffee-ground-like material (indicating bleeding in the stomach).
Diagnosis is typically made through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and tests such as endoscopy, where a flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the digestive tract to visualize the ulcers.

Treatment for peptic ulcers depends on the underlying cause:

1. H. pylori infection: Antibiotics are prescribed to eradicate the bacteria. Acid-suppressing medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine-2 (H2) blockers are also used to reduce stomach acid production and allow the ulcers to heal.
2. NSAID-related ulcers: Discontinuing or reducing NSAID use is advised. In some cases, alternative pain management options may be recommended.
3. Lifestyle changes: Quitting smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and managing stress can aid in the healing process.