A peptic ulcer is a break, tear, or hole in the lining of the stomach or duodenum, the opening to the small intestine. The bacteria H. pylori is the most common cause of an ulcer, but they may also develop due to long-term use of medications such as NSAIDs. Stress and spicy foods don't cause peptic ulcers, but they can make an already painful condition feel much worse. If undiagnosed or untreated, peptic ulcers can have serious complications.
Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of a peptic ulcer. Typically, people with gastric or duodenal ulcers experience burning stomach pain between the navel and breast bone that may also extend to the back. Because stomach acid makes the pain worse, this symptom often intensifies when the stomach is empty, either between meals or throughout the night. Antacids can temporarily relieve the pain because they make the juices in the stomach less acidic.
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