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Ulcers Center

Ulcers

Ulcers
Ulcers affect as many as 10 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. In fact, it is estimated that ulcers (peptic ulcers) trouble half of all people over age 50, and that nearly 4 million Americans have been diagnosed with peptic ulcer disease. But what is an ulcer? And what are the main causes and risk factors for developing an ulcer?

What is an ulcer?
An ulcer, or peptic ulcer, is a sore on the lining of the digestive tract. The digestive tract includes the esophagus, stomach, duodenum (the first part of the intestines), the small intestines and the large intestine (also called the colon). Depending on location, peptic ulcers are given different names:

Gastric ulcer - occurs in the stomach

Duodenal ulcer - develops in the first part of the small intestine (duodenum)

Esophageal ulcer - located in the lower section of your esophagus and is often associated with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Chronic inflammation from an ulcer can cause tissue swelling and scarring. Over time, scarring can close the outlet of the stomach, prevent food from passing into the small intestine or cause vomiting and weight loss. Left untreated, an ulcer can even eat a hole in the stomach or intestinal lining called a "perforation" - a situation that requires surgery. In severe cases, ulcer complications can lead to death. 

Stomach, or peptic ulcers, can be caused by a number of factors. Learn what can cause ulcers and what risk factors you can avoid which make developing stomach ulcers more likely.  Read on for more.

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