A peptic ulcer is a sore that forms when digestive juices wear away the lining of the digestive system. A peptic ulcer can occur in the lining of the stomach, duodenum, or lower part of the oesophagus.
Different factors can cause the lining of the stomach, the oesophagus, and the small intestine to break down. These include:
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a type of bacteria that can cause a stomach infection and inflammation.
Frequent use of aspirin (Bayer), ibuprofen (Advil), and other anti-inflammatory drugs (risk associated with this behaviour increases in women and people over the age of 60).
Drinking too much alcohol.
The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is burning abdominal pain that extends from the navel to the chest, which can range from mild to severe. In some cases, the pain may wake you up at night. Small peptic ulcers may not produce any symptoms in the early phases.
Other common signs of a peptic ulcer include:
Changes in appetite.
Bloody or dark stools.
Unexplained weight loss.