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Stomach ulcers

What are stomach or peptic ulcers?

Nearly one in ten Americans develops at least one ulcer during his or her lifetime. An ulcer is an open sore, or lesion, usually found on the skin or mucous membrane areas of the body.

  • An ulcer in the lining of the stomach or duodenum is referred to as a peptic ulcer.
  • When the ulcer is in the stomach, it is called a gastric ulcer.
  • When the ulcer is in the duodenum, it is called a duodenal ulcer.

In the past, it was believed lifestyle factors such as stress and diet caused ulcers. Later, researchers determined that stomach acids—hydrochloric acid and pepsin—contributed to ulcer formation. Today, research shows that most ulcers (80 percent of gastric ulcers and 90 percent of duodenal ulcers) develop as a result of infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). It is believed that, although all three of these factors—lifestyle, acid and pepsin, and H. pylori—play a role in ulcer development, H. pylori is considered to be the primary cause, in most cases.

Mercy Hospitals in Bakersfield can help you learn more about stomach ulcers

To find a doctor specializing in ulcerative colitis and other gastrointestinal disorders, or to find a primary care physician (PCP), please use our Find A Doctor tool or call (661) 324-7070.