Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are open sores that develop on the inner lining of the stomach. They can also occur in the upper part of the small intestine, known as the duodenum, and are then referred to as duodenal ulcers. Stomach ulcers are primarily caused by the erosion of the protective lining of the stomach or duodenum, leading to the exposure of underlying tissues to stomach acids. The primary causes of stomach ulcers include:
Helicobacter pylori Infection:
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that can infect the stomach lining, causing inflammation and leading to the development of ulcers. H. pylori is a common cause of both gastric and duodenal ulcers.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs):
Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can increase the risk of stomach ulcers. These medications can irritate the stomach lining and reduce the production of protective mucus.
Excessive Acid Production:
An overproduction of stomach acid, a condition known as hyperacidity, can contribute to the development of ulcers. This excess acid can erode the protective mucous lining and damage the underlying tissues. To know more visit a Best Gastroenterologist in Lahore.
Smoking has been identified as a risk factor for stomach ulcers. It is thought to increase stomach acid production and interfere with the healing of existing ulcers.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption:
Heavy alcohol consumption can irritate and erode the stomach lining, making it more susceptible to the development of ulcers.
While stress alone is not a direct cause of stomach ulcers, it can contribute to the worsening of symptoms and delay the healing process. Chronic stress may also affect the immune system, making the stomach more vulnerable to infections like H. pylori.
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a rare condition characterized by tumors in the pancreas or duodenum that produce excess amounts of gastrin, a hormone that stimulates stomach acid production. This increased acidity can lead to the development of ulcers.
Individuals who undergo radiation therapy, particularly in the abdominal area, may be at an increased risk of developing stomach ulcers as a side effect of the treatment.
The risk of developing stomach ulcers increases with age. Older adults may be more prone to conditions such as H. pylori infection and may have a longer history of NSAID use.
A family history of stomach ulcers may increase an individual’s susceptibility to developing ulcers. Genetic factors may play a role in certain predispositions to H. pylori infection or other conditions contributing to ulcer formation.
It’s important to note that the treatment and prevention of stomach ulcers often involve addressing the underlying causes. In many cases, the use of antibiotics to eradicate H. pylori, discontinuation or careful use of NSAIDs, and lifestyle modifications (such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake) can contribute to the healing and prevention of stomach ulcers. Individuals experiencing symptoms suggestive of stomach ulcers, such as persistent abdominal pain, should seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment. Consult a Gastroenterologist in Karachi to get help at the earliest if your health is compromised.