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Peptic Ulcers

Peptic Ulcers Overview

In the digestive system, an ulcer is an area where tissue has been destroyed by gastric juices and stomach acid. Peptic ulcer disease is a general term for ulcers that occur in the stomach or duodenum (upper part of the small intestine).

  • A peptic ulcer is an erosion or sore in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • The mucous membrane lining the digestive tract erodes and causes a gradual breakdown of tissue.
  • This breakdown causes a gnawing or burning pain in the upper middle part of the belly (abdomen).
  • Although most peptic ulcers are small, they can cause a considerable amount of discomfort.

Peptic ulcers are a very common condition in the United States and throughout the world.

  • In the United States, about 10% of the population will develop a duodenal ulcer at some point in their lives.
  • Peptic ulcer disease affects about 4.6 million people annually.
  • The occurrence of peptic ulcer disease is similar in men and women. Approximately 11%-14% of men and 8%-11% of women will develop peptic ulcer disease in their lifetime.
  • The mortality rate for peptic ulcer disease is approximately one death per 10,000 cases. The mortality rate due to ulcer hemorrhage is approximately 5%.

Ulcers can occur at any age, although they are rare in children and teenagers.

The good news is that we have learned a lot about ulcers in the past 20 years and effective therapies are now available.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/13/2014
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Peptic Ulcers:

Peptic Ulcers - Symptoms

The symptoms of peptic ulcers can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

Peptic Ulcer - Treatment

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Peptic Ulcer Disease »

Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a common disorder that affects millions of individuals in the United States each year.

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