A stomach ulcer (also referred to as a gastric ulcer) is a break in the mucosal lining more than 5mm in diameter. Ulcers in both the stomach and the duodenum (duodenal ulcer) may be described as a ‘peptic ulcer’.
Stomach ulcers occur when the mechanisms of defence which protect the mucosal lining – such as prostaglandins, mucus, bicarbonate and mucosal blood flow – become compromised and cause irritation from contact with gastric acid and pepsin.
The most common symptoms are epigastric pain (commonly described as gnawing or burning in the abdomen). Some patients may not experience any symptoms, while for others dyspepsia (abdominal discomfort, heartburn, acid reflux), nausea and vomiting may occur.
In severe cases, complications such as perforation and upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding can develop.
The two leading