A peptic ulcer is an erosion or sore in the lining of the stomach or intestine that occurs when the protective mucus layer wears away in certain areas, allowing damage to occur from the natural acids of the stomach.
Around 10% of people will have peptic ulcer disease (PUD) at some point in their life. The majority of peptic ulcers are caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or by taking ASA (acetylsalicylic acid) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., ibuprofen*, ketoprofen, naproxen).
There are two types of peptic ulcers:
- Gastric ulcers are sores in the lining of the stomach.
- Duodenal ulcers are those in the first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum. This is an area where food is digested after passing through the stomach.