A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum. The duodenum is the
first part of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers found in the stomach are called gastric
ulcers. Peptic ulcers found in the duodenum are called duodenal ulcers. People can have
more than one ulcer. Peptic ulcer is very common in a wide range of human population.
Ulcers can develop at any age, but they are rare among teenagers and even more uncommon in
children. They most often occur from early middle age onwards (age 30 and 50), with gastric ulcers being
more common in elderly people (over age 60). Peptic ulcers affect both men and women. Duodenal
ulcers occur more frequently in men than women; stomach ulcers develop more often in women than men.
Peptic ulcers may be acute (appear suddenly) or chronic (go on for a long time).
Acute ulcers are often multiple, produce no symptoms and usually heal without scarring.
Chronic ulcers are deeper, usually occur individually and usually produce symptoms. They leave a
scar when they heal.
People of any age can get an ulcer and women are affected just as often as men. Over 25 million Americans will suffer from an ulcer at some point during their lifetime. The good news is that most ulcers are caused by an infection with the bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, and can be cured in a very short time with a course of antibiotics.
Find out more about peptic ulcers by clicking on the topics below.
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Date of Last Update: 07/27/12