A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or intestine. They are named based on their location. Gastric ulcers are in the stomach. Duodenal ulcers are in the first part of the small intestine.
Most peptic ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection from Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or irritating medicines, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Ulcers can lead to health problems, such as:
- Bleeding—When the stomach or intestine lining bleed due to severe inflammation
- Perforation—An ulcer that burns through the wall of the stomach and allows contents to leak out
- Obstruction—Scarring from ulcers that blocks flow through the stomach and duodenum
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
- Review Date: 11/2019 -
- Update Date: 02/04/2020 -