Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD)

Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) is a break in the inner lining of the stomach, first part of the small intestines or sometimes the lower esophagus.

An ulcer in the stomach is called a gastric ulcer. An ulcer in the duodenum is called a duodenal ulcer. The most common symptoms of a duodenal ulcer are waking at night with upper abdominal pain or upper abdominal pain that improves with eating.

With a gastric ulcer the pain may worsen with eating. The pain is often described as a burning or dull ache. Other symptoms include belching, vomiting, weight loss, or poor appetite.

Common causes include the bacteria Helicobacter pylori and Non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other less common causes include tobacco smoking, stress, Crohn disease and liver cirrhosis. H. pylori can be diagnosed by testing the blood for antibodies, a urea breath test, testing the stool for signs of the bacteria, or a biopsy of the stomach which is obtained with an Upper Gl Endoscopy (EGD).

Signs and symptoms of a peptic ulcer can include one of the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hematemesis (vomiting of blood)
  • Melena (tarry, foul-smelling feces due to iron from hemoglobin)