John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Not everyone who gets an ulcer is infected with H pylori.
Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause ulcers if taken regularly.
Some types of medical therapy can contribute to ulcer formation. The following factors can weaken the protective mucosal barrier of the stomach increasing the chances of getting an ulcer and slows healing of existing ulcers.
Aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen and naproxen), and newer anti-inflammatory medications (such as celecoxib [Celebrex])
Stress: physical (severe injuries or burns, major surgery) or emotional
Radiation therapy:-used for diseases such as cancer
People who take aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medication are at increased risk even if they do not have H pylori infection.
Elderly people with conditions such as arthritis are especially vulnerable.
People who have had prior ulcers or intestinal bleeding are at higher-than-normal risk.
If a person takes these medications regularly, alternatives should be
discussed with a health care professional. This is especially true if the
affected individual has an upset stomach or heartburn after taking these medications.
H pylori bacteria spread through the stools (feces) of an infected person.
The stool contaminates food or water (usually through poor personal hygiene).
The bacteria in the stool make their way into the digestive tracts of people who consume this food or water.
This is called fecal-oral transmission and is a common way for infections to spread.
The bacteria are found in the stomach, where they are able to penetrate and damage the lining of the stomach and duodenum.
Many people who are exposed to the bacteria never develop ulcers.
People who are newly infected usually develop symptoms within a few weeks.
Researchers are trying to discover what is different about the people who develop ulcers.
Infection with H pylori occurs in all ages, races, and socioeconomic classes.
It is more common in older adults, although it is thought that many people are infected in childhood and carry the bacteria throughout their lifetimes.
It is also more common in lower socioeconomic classes because these households tend to have more people living together, sharing bathrooms and kitchen facilities.
African Americans and Hispanic Americans are more likely to have the bacteria than whites and Asian Americans.
It is important to distinguish between ulcers caused by H pylori and those caused by medications only, because the treatment is completely different.
Ulcers can be linked with other medical conditions.
People who worry excessively are usually thought to have a condition called
generalized anxiety disorder. This disorder has been linked with peptic ulcers.
Gastrointestinal BleedingGastrointestinal bleeding either comes from the upper GI or lower GI tract. Upper GI bleeding can be caused by ulcers, gastritis, varices, cancer, or inflammati...learn more >>