Ulcers / H. Pylori

Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside lining of your stomach, upper small intestine or esophagus. The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is pain.

Not long ago, the common belief was that peptic ulcers were a result of lifestyle. Doctors now know that a bacterial infection or some medications — not stress or diet — cause most ulcers of the stomach and upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). Esophageal ulcers also may occur and are typically associated with the reflux of stomach acid.

Peptic ulcers are common, and oftentimes successful treatment of peptic ulcers takes just a few weeks.

H. pylori infection occurs when a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) thrives in your stomach or the first part of your small intestine.

H. pylori infection may be present in about half the people in the world. In industrialized countries the infection rate is about 20 percent to 30 percent, but in developing countries the infection rate may exceed 70 percent. However, most people who carry the bacteria experience no signs or symptoms of infection.

H. pylori infection is the most common cause of stomach ulcers, and it also causes inflammation of the stomach lining. H. pylori infection may also contribute to stomach cancers and other digestive system cancers.

Antibiotics used to eradicate H. pylori bacteria are usually part of a multiple-drug strategy to treat disorders caused or worsened by H. pylori infection.