peptic ulcer

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ulcer, open sore or circumscribed erosion, usually slow to heal, on the skin or mucous membranes. It may develop as a result of injury; because of a circulatory disturbance, e.g., in varicose veins or after prolonged bed rest; or in association with such diseases as tuberculosis, syphilis, or leprosy. Corneal ulcers, which result from infection, allergy, or foreign objects in the eye, can cause visual impairment if not treated promptly. Some ulcers may develop into cancer. The underlying cause must be treated as well as the ulcerous lesion.

Peptic ulcer occurs in the mucous membrane of the intestinal tract. An estimated 90% of peptic ulcers are caused by infection with a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, strains of which promote the formation of ulcers by causing an inflammtory response in the cells of the stomach wall, making it more susceptible to the hydrochloric acid secreted by the stomach. Most commonly, it occurs in the stomach (gastric ulcer) or at the beginning of the small intestine (duodenal ulcer, the most common form) and causes abdominal pain, especially between meals.

Infection with the H. pylori bacterium, which is also associated with some stomach cancer, is very common, but not all strains promote the formation of ulcers. Approximately 50% of those over 60 in developed countries are infected; in developing countries the infection rate is much higher, and infection usually occurs earlier in life. Experts are as yet uncertain how the bacterium is spread. Around 20% of those infected develop ulcers. Peptic ulcer is found more frequently in men. Heavy aspirin or ibuprofen use and smoking increase the risk of ulcer development.

The connection of H. pylori infection with peptic ulcer was made in the early 1980s by Australian scientists Barry J. Marshall and J. Robin Warren. It previously was believed that peptic ulcers were caused by emotional stress, though since the early 1900s researchers had reported finding curved bacteria in the stomachs of dead patients with ulcers more often than in those without ulcers. Marshall and Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2005 for their work. Treatment changed accordingly and now typically consists of antibiotics (such as clarithromycin or amoxicillin) plus metronidazole (Flagyl) and bismuth subsalicylate (e.g., Pepto-Bismol). For the relief of symptoms, drugs such as famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet), and omeprazole (Prilosec) may also be used. Hemorrhage or perforation of peptic ulcers requires emergency medical treatment.

The full set of genes (genome) of H. pylori was determined in 1997. This achievement will help researchers design new drugs to treat and prevent diseases caused by the bacterium.

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peptic ulcer

[′pep·tik ′əl·sər]
An ulcer involving the mucosa, submucosa, and muscular layer on the lower esophagus, stomach, or duodenum, due in part at least to the action of acid-pepsin gastric juice.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

peptic ulcer

Pathol an ulcer of the mucous membrane lining those parts of the alimentary tract exposed to digestive juices. It can occur in the oesophagus, the stomach, the duodenum, the jejunum, or in parts of the ileum
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
According to the medical practitioner, the symptoms of peptic ulcer include burning stomach pain, feeling of fullness, bloating or belching, fatty food intolerance, heartburn and nausea.
We think that the history of NSAID-related peptic ulcer bleeding is a condition that should be questioned and should not be ignored by physicians in these patients.
"Where there is inflammation, look for infection," says Professor Borody, who is well known globally for discovering the cure for the peptic ulcer bacterial infection, using a triple antibiotic therapy.
A 45-year experience with surgical treatment of peptic ulcer disease in children.
Peptic Ulcer Symptoms The first sign of an ulcer is usually a burning sensation in the upper-to-middle abdomen that occurs within one to two hours after a meal.
Thus, antiulcer medication and presentation of elderly patients have changed in peptic ulcer perforation (PUP) and, transforming the patient profiles with PUP in our era.
Management of acute bleeding from a peptic ulcer. N Engl J Med.
Peptic ulcer is defined as a circumscribed ulceration of the gastrointestinal mucosa occurring in areas exposed to acid and pepsin and most often caused by Helicobacter pylori infection.
Non ulcer dyspepsia (47%) was the commonest diagnosis followed by peptic ulcers (42%) and reflux oesophagitis (10%).
* Alcohol is known to increase risk of peptic ulcers and slow healing of existing ulcers.
'Some of the most common digestive tract disorders we encounter are gastroenteritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux disease, peptic ulcer, diarrhea and constipation,' according to Ernesto Olympia, head of MakatiMed's Endoscopy Unit.
Hu, "Helicobacter pylori eradication within 120 days is associated with decreased complicated recurrent peptic ulcers in peptic ulcer bleeding patients," Gut and Liver, vol.