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Ulcers Center

Ulcers Causes and Risk Factors

What causes ulcers?
Peptic ulcers can be caused by a number of factors, including eating food that is too much acidic. Smoking tobacco or excessive alcohol consumption can further increase the volume and concentration of stomach acid and irritate and erode the mucous lining of your stomach. Another common cause of peptic ulcer disease is the regular use of pain medications. Stress may aggravate symptoms of peptic ulcers, delay healing or contribute to the development of ulcers. Most stomach ulcers, however, are caused by a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori for short.

  • acidic foods
  • bacterial infections (Helicobacter pylori)
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • NSAIDs - regular use of pain medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, celecoxib, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, meloxicam, and naproxen
  • smoking
  • stress

Risk factors
Risk factors increase the likelihood of experiencing a disease or condition. You're at risk for peptic ulcer disease if you:

  • are 50 years old or older
  • drink alcohol excessively
  • have a family history of ulcer disease
  • have had past experiences with ulcers and internal bleeding
  • smoke cigarettes or use tobacco
  • take blood thinners
  • take steroid medications
  • take NSAIDs or medications that contain aspirin or other NSAIDs for long periods of time, in amounts higher than recommended on the bottle or by your doctor or pharmacist or if you notice certain side effects such as upset stomach and heartburn

Although chronic inflammation of the digestive tract can signal trouble, what other symptoms of ulcers should you be aware of? And when do you know when to ask for medical help? Continue reading for more about early identification of peptic ulcers and learn what does an ulcer feel like in the section that follows.

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