Peptic ulcer or stomach ulcer is a hole or sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). Both men and women, at any age, can suffer from this.
An ulcer is one of the common reasons behind chronic stomach pain. It can affect the appetite and cause vomiting, nausea or bleeding into the digestive tract.
Ulcers form due to an imbalance of digestive juices in the intestines and stomach. Your chance of developing an ulcer over time can increase due to several things.
Here Are The Common Causes That Lead To Peptic Ulcers.
Helicobacter Pylori Bacterial Infection
One of the most common causes of peptic ulcers is an infection that develops from Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. This infection is believed to be transmitted from person to person through close contact or it may enter the body through water and food.
This type of bacteria can survive the acidic environment that occurs during the process of digestion. It commonly lives in the mucous layer that covers and protects tissues that line in the small intestines and stomach.
The growth of these bacteria can cause irritation in the stomach lining and weaken the protective coating thereby resulting in an infection and inflammation which ultimately leads to an ulcer.
High Caffeine Intake
Caffeine makes you more vulnerable to suffering from stomach cancer since it increases the production of stomach acid. This acid passes into the small intestine more rapidly than normal.
Aside from increasing the risk of developing an ulcer, it also aggravates symptoms of those with an existing ulcer.
According to experts heavy drinking is considered to be a risk factor for an ulcer. It can irritate the stomach lining, thus leading to inflammation. Moreover, heavy drinking can also increase the acidity level in the stomach which makes you more vulnerable to ulcers.
One of the rare causes of peptic ulcers is Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a rare condition wherein one or more tumors formed in your pancreas or the duodenum (upper part of your small intestine). Excess amounts of gastrin are being secreted by these tumors which results in too much acid in the stomach and damage in the lining. These, later on, lead to peptic ulcers.
Too Much Salt
A diet with high salt intake may induce gene activity in H. pylori that make it more contagious. One of the key reasons behind ulcers is an infection from H. pylori bacteria.
People suffering from ulcers are advised to have a low-salt diet to avoid further irritation.
Having a family member who suffers from ulcer usually increase your chance of developing the same condition. Yet, experts are not sure about how this happens since ulcers are not a genetic disease.
Experts believe that stress, especially prolonged stress, increases the likelihood of suffering from a stomach ulcer.
Stress causes an increase in the release of stomach acid and raises inflammation.
In some cases, stress along with a bacterial infection or use of anti-inflammatory drugs can also lead to ulcers.
Low Levels Of Melatonin
Melatonin production in the pineal gland is triggered by low lighting. Your body produces less melatonin because of lifestyle changes like working late at night, the use of artificial lighting and so on.
This reduction in melatonin can cause several health issues, like ulcers.
Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Both prescription and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can inflame or irritate the lining of the small intestine and stomach, which can lead to an ulcer.
Over-the-counter NSAIDs are only taken for short periods of time while prescribed NSAIDs are usually taken for weeks or months at a time thereby, it can cause more damage to the digestive tract.
Included in the list of the NSAIDs that are harmful to the digestive system are naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox, and others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others).
Hypercalcemia refers to an overproduction of calcium. In this condition, blood contains an above-normal level of calcium.
Prolonged hypercalcemia can cause high gastrin levels, thus contributing to peptic ulcer disease. It may even lead to pancreatitis or calcium deposits in soft tissue.