A Peptic Ulcer is a breach in the lining (mucosa) of the digestive tract.
Peptic ulcers are caused by digestion of the mucosa by pepsin and acid. This may happen when pepsin and acid are present in abnormally high concentrations or when something else reduces the normal protective mechanisms of the mucosa. Bile salts may be involved, especially in cases of stomach ulcers.
A peptic ulcer may be found in:
- the oesophagus
- the stomach (gastric ulcer)
- the duodenum (duodenal ulcer)
- the jejunum
- in a Meckel's diverticulum
- close to a gastroenterostomy
There may not be any obvious symptoms of a peptic ulcer, but some patients experience abdominal pain, typically just below the sternum.
Effects / Symptoms of a peptic ulcer can include:
- abdominal pain - often just below the sternum (="breastbone"), which may be a persistent burning pain that extends to he person's back. In some cases this pain may begin approx. 20 mins after eating, or it may awaken the person at night.
- regurgitating food
- bitter taste in the mouth
More about the Digestive System:
This section includes pages about:
- Introduction to the Digestive System
- Terminology about Digestion
- Passage through the alimentary tract
- Component Parts of the Digestive System, incl. Teeth, Stomach, Liver, Small Intestine, Large Intestine
- Chemical Processes in the Digestive System (introductory level)
- Diseases and Disorders of the Digestive System
For further information see also our pages of books about gastroenterology.
- The digestive system (introduction)
- Digestive System Terminology
- Main Stages of the Digestive Process
- Transit through the Alimentary Canal
- Absorption Sites
- Structures of the mouth
- Teeth - as part of the digestive system
- Small Intestine
- Large Intestine
- Digestive System Diseases & Disorders