A peptic ulcer is a defect in the wall of the stomach or small intestine. Peptic ulcers are most often caused by infection or excessive use of anti-inflammatory drugs and are generally treatable with antibiotics and antacids. Rarely, surgery is necessary to address complications, though hospitalization and operative management has declined in recent years due to other methods of care. The signs and symptoms of ulcers are well understood, though they may be difficult to distinguish from other gastrointestinal conditions.
Peptic ulcers are divided into two main types: gastric and duodenal. Most symptoms are shared between the two, though some type-specific markers of each exist. Gastric ulcers form in the lining of the stomach. Duodenal ulcers form in the duodenum, the uppermost section of the small intestine.
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