A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or first part of the small intestine. Burning stomach pain is the most common symptom and may come and go for a few days or few weeks. It is more bothersome when the stomach is empty and usually recedes after the patient eats. Peptic ulcers occur when the acids that help food digestion damage the walls of the stomach or small intestine. The cause is unknown but ulcers may be associated with infection from Helicobacter Pylori.
Another cause of PUD is long-term use of anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen. And contrary to popular belief, while stress and spicy foods can aggravate ulcers, they do not cause them. If not treated, the ulcers may get worse. Treatment can include medicines that block stomach acids or antibiotics to kill bacteria. Surgery may be necessary for ulcers that do not heal.