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Gastric Ulcers Overture

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Uploaded on Sep 27, 2011

A peptic ulcer is a hole in the gut lining of the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus. A peptic ulcer of the stomach is called a gastric ulcer; of the duodenum, a duodenal ulcer; and of the esophagus, an esophageal ulcer. An ulcer occurs when the lining of these organs is corroded by the acidic digestive juices which are secreted by the stomach cells. Peptic ulcer disease is common.
For many years, excess acid was believed to be the major cause of ulcer disease. Accordingly, treatment emphasis was on neutralizing and inhibiting the secretion of stomach acid. While acid is still considered significant in ulcer formation, the leading cause of ulcer disease is currently believed to be infection of the stomach by a bacteria called "Helicobacter pyloricus" (H. pylori). Another major cause of ulcers is the chronic use of anti-inflammatory medications, commonly referred to as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), including aspirin. Cigarette smoking is also an important cause of ulcer formation and ulcer treatment failure.
H. pylori bacteria is very common, infecting more than a billion people worldwide. It is estimated that half of the United States population older than age 60 has been infected with H. pylori. Infection usually persists for many years, leading to ulcer disease in 10 % to 15% of those infected. H. pylori is found in more than 80% of patients with gastric and duodenal ulcers. While the mechanism of how H. pylori causes ulcers is not well understood, elimination of this bacteria by antibiotics has clearly been shown to heal ulcers and prevent ulcer recurrence.
Complications
Bleeding from the ulcer
Perforation (hole) in the stomach
Blockage in the stomach that prevents movement of stomach contents

Complications can often be corrected by medication, endoscopy, or (in rare cases) with surgery.

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