“Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop in the lining of the stomach, esophagus, and small intestine as a result of an imbalance of hydrochloric acid and pepsin. These acidic digestive juices are secreted by the cells of the stomach. Named for where they are found, “peptic ulcers are a very common and often reoccurring health problem, and it is estimated that more than 20 million Americans will experience a peptic ulcer in their lifetime” (Cleveland).
Gastric ulcers occur on the inside of the stomach. These are often the result of bacterium Heliobacter pylori (H. pylori), which causes stomach infection, inflammation and cancer. Heliobacter pylori produce toxic molecules that weaken the stomach's protective mucus, therefore, making it more susceptible to the damaging effects of gastric acids, and thus producing more acid. According to MedlinePlus, researchers speculate it may be spread by unclean food and water, since it is found in about two-thirds of the world’s population.
Esophageal ulcers are found on the inside of the stomach lining. They occur within the muscular hollow tube called the esophagus, which carries food from the throat to the stomach. In severe cases, when there is a reflux of gastric juices through the cardiac sphincter, it can ultimately perforate and cause severe inflammation of the tissues that surround it, the heart, and tissue between the lungs.
Duodenal ulcers are the most common, occurring on the inside of the upper portion of the small intestine called the duodenum. This results when the acid chyme, a semifluid mass of partially digested food, is expelled by the stomach into the duodenum. This chime is not completely neutralized when entering through the pyloric sphincter, thus producing erosions and compromising protection by the mucosa.
The two most important causes of peptic ulcers are the infection caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and the prolonged use of anti-inflammatory medications also known as NSAIDS, such as aspirin. The treatment of peptic ulcers is to neutralize and prevent the secretion of stomach acid.
Common symptoms of peptic ulcers usually come and go with burning stomach pain, often beginning between meals and often during the night. It may be temporarily relieved by antacids. Treatments of ulcers are to first to relieve pain, heal the ulcer and to prevent complications. The use of antacids such as Maalox and Mylanta is common in treating peptic ulcers because they neutralize acid within the stomach. They are short lived because the need to use frequently and often cause diarrhea and constipation. H2 Blockers are also used in the treatment of ulcers because they block the production of the gastric cells from secreting gastric acid. Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) are also used in treatment; these are commonly found over-the-counter as Prilosec and Prevacid. They perform the same action as antacids, but they are no more effective than Maalox and Mylanta. Other agents that are used to...