Gastric ulcer

  • Definition

    A gastric ulcer is a break in the normal tissue that lines the stomach.

    See also: Duodenal ulcer

    Alternative Names

    Ulcer - stomach; Peptic disease; Stomach ulcer

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Non-cancerous (benign) gastric ulcers are caused by an imbalance between stomach acid, an enzyme called pepsin, and the natural defenses of the stomach's lining. This imbalance leads to inflammation, which can be made worse by aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.

    Risk factors for benign gastric ulcers include:

    • Use of aspirin and NSAIDs
    • Helicobacter pylori ( H. pylori) infection
    • Chronic gastritis
    • Smoking
    • Increasing age
    • Mechanical ventilation (being put on a breathing machine)
    • Certain blood clotting problems

    Stress does not cause or worsen gastric ulcers.