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Stress, spicy foods and smoking were once thought to cause ulcers. Now we know that most ulcers are actually caused by bacteria in the stomach or certain medications, and helpful treatments are available. Read on to learn more about ulcers.
Ulcers are painful sores found in the lining of the:
In general, ulcers are often called “peptic” ulcers to indicate they occur in the digestive tract.
Ulcers may be caused by the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. However, not everyone with H. pylori will develop an ulcer.
Ulcers may also be caused by regularly taking certain medication, such as aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Spicy foods, stress, smoking, and alcohol do not cause ulcers, but if you have an ulcer, may make your pain worse.
The most common symptom of ulcers is chronic pain in the abdomen like a burning or gnawing feeling. This pain can happen just after meals for gastric ulcers, and two to three hours after meals or at night with duodenal ulcers.
Other symptoms may include:
In some cases, ulcers may not show any symptoms. This is most common in the elderly.
Ulcers are sores that need to heal. Your doctor will treat your ulcer based on what is causing it.
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