Digestive System

Ulcerated Peptic Ulcer

By S.I. (staff writer) , published on November 25, 2022

Medicine Telehealth Health stomach infection ulcer

What is an ulcerated peptic ulcer?

Peptic ulcers are open sores on the interior lining of the stomach and the upper region of the small intestine [1]. Stomach discomfort is the most common sign of a peptic ulcer.


Peptic ulcers include:


  1. Gastric ulcers: These occur in the stomach affecting its inner lining
  2. Duodenal ulcers: These occur on the inside of the upper portion of your duodenum which is the starting point of the small intestine


What are the Symptoms of Ulcerated Peptic Ulcers?

A burning sensation or discomfort will most likely be felt between your umbilicus and breastbone. It may be more noticeable on an empty stomach, such as between meals or at night. If you eat or take an antacid, the discomfort may subside for a short while but then return. The discomfort may last a few minutes or several hours, and it may come and go for several days or weeks.


Other symptoms may include:

  • Bloody or dark stool [2]
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite or weight loss
  • Burping
  • Bloated feeling


Small ulcers may not cause any symptoms.


What are the Causes of Ulcerated Peptic Ulcers?

Previously, scientists believed that lifestyle variables such as stress and food caused ulcers. Today, we know that stomach acids and other digestive liquids contribute to the formation of ulcers. These fluids cause organ linings to burn [3].


Peptic ulcers are caused by a variety of factors, including:


1.      Helicobacter pylori:

Most ulcers are caused by an infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. These bacteria damage the mucus barrier that covers your stomach lining and the first part of your small intestine (the duodenum). Stomach acid then penetrates the lining.

2.      NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are examples of over-the-counter pain and fever relievers. They can damage the mucus that protects the lining of your stomach over time [4]


Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption can also increase your risk of developing ulcers. Experts once believed that stress and consuming a lot of spicy food caused ulcers. However, they can aggravate ulcers and make treatment more difficult.


What is the Treatment of Ulcerated Peptic Ulcers?

Some peptic ulcers heal by themselves. However, if the ulcers are not treated, they tend to reoccur.

They have the potential to damage the blood vessel wall in your stomach or small intestine. Ulcers can also erode the mucosal lining and cause infections. Alternatively, they can create edema, which can prevent food from passing from your stomach into your small intestine.


If H. pylori are responsible, your doctor may prescribe a combination of medications to treat it. If aspirin and other NSAIDs are causing the ulcer, you may need to reduce your intake, discontinue them entirely, or switch to another pain treatment.


Your doctor may also prescribe antacids to combat stomach acid or medication to reduce the amount of acid your body produces. Prescription medications known as cytoprotective agents can help protect the stomach or small intestinal lining, allowing the ulcer to heal [5].





  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140673609609387
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140673613605966
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/002196816790015X
  4. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/abs/10.7326/0003-4819-114-4-307https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/abs/10.7326/0003-4819-114-4-307
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000293431930004X

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