Ulcers, formally known as peptic ulcers, are open sores that develop along the interior lining of the stomach and the upper region of the small intestine. There are two types of peptic ulcers:
- Duodenal. This type of ulcer occurs along the interior portion of the small intestine, or the duodenum; hence why they’re referred to as duodenal ulcers.
- Gastric. A gastric ulcer developed on the interior of the stomach, the upper part of the gastrointestinal system; hence why they’re called gastric ulcers.
Symptoms of an ulcer vary according to the type and the severity; however, some of the most common symptoms include a burning sensation in the stomach, bloating, increased belching, a feeling of fullness in the abdomen, heartburn, and nausea. Sometimes vomiting and unintentional weight loss may occur as it may be difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Some of the most common causes of ulcers include:
1. Repeat use of some kinds of pain relievers.
Certain types of prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as well as aspirin, can cause gastric and duodenal ulcers, especially when they are used for an extended period of time. These medications are known to cause inflammation or irritation within the lining of the stomach, as well as the lining of the small intestine. When taken for an extended amount of time, that inflammation and irritation can cause open sores (ulcers) to develop on the stomach and the duodenum.
Medications that are known to cause these adverse effects include ibuprofen, such as Advil and Motrin, and naproxen sodium, such as Anaprox and Aleve; however, acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, is not attributed with peptic ulcers. Peptic ulcers most commonly occur in older adults who take these types of medications excessive or for a long period of time.