Understanding the Different Types of Ulcers: Peptic, Gastric, and Duodenal

Common gastrointestinal disorders called ulcers can be extremely uncomfortable and, if left untreated, can develop into more serious health problems. Understanding the many kinds of ulcers—peptic, gastric, and duodenal—is essential for accurate diagnosis and treatment in the field of Medical Gastroenterology. This blog seeks to clarify the distinctions between various kinds of ulcers, as well as their causes, signs, and available treatments.

What Do Ulcers Mean?

Open sores known as ulcers can appear on the oesophagus, upper portion of the small intestine, or the inside of the stomach. They arise from the erosion of the mucous layer that protects the underlying tissue from stomach acid. Peptic ulcers, which comprise duodenal and stomach ulcers, are the most prevalent kind of ulcers.

Peptic Ulcers:

Sores on the lining of the stomach and upper part of the small intestine are called peptic ulcers. Peptic ulcers are mostly caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen. It is now established that hot meals and stress only make ulcers worse. Previously, ulcers were thought to be caused by stress.

Signs of Gastric Ulcers:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Fullness and burning in the stomach

    Eating specific meals or taking antacids can temporarily ease the burning or gnawing pain that is commonly linked with peptic ulcers.

    Gastric ulcers

    Peptic ulcers that specifically affect the stomach’s inner lining are known as gastric ulcers. The most common causes of these ulcers are prolonged NSAID use or H. pylori infection. Stress, smoking, and binge drinking are other risk factors.

    Symptoms of Gastric ulcers:

    • upper abdominal pain
    • pain that becomes worse when you eat
    • nausea
    • weight loss
    • vomiting, occasionally with blood

    Eating usually makes the discomfort from gastric ulcers worse since it causes the stomach to produce more acid. This sets gastric ulcers apart from duodenal ulcers, the latter of which may be less painful with food.

    Duodenum Ulcers

    Another kind of peptic ulcer is a duodenal ulcer, which develops in the duodenum, the upper part of the small intestine. They are typically brought on by H. pylori infection and NSAID use, just as gastric ulcers. But compared to stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers are more frequent.

    Symptoms of Duodenum Ulcers:

    • ache that wakes you up at night
    • Upper stomach ache that gets better after eating
    • Bleating
    • Belching
    • Nausea
    • Abdominal pain that worsens after eating or using antacids and returns two to three hours later or at night is a defining symptom of duodenal ulcers.

    Identification and Management

    A combination of the patient’s medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic testing is usually used to diagnose ulcers. These examinations could consist of:

    • Endoscopy: A procedure in which the stomach and duodenum are seen through the mouth using a tiny tube equipped with a camera.
    • H. pylori testing: Non-invasive methods for identifying H. pylori infection include blood, stool, and breath tests.
    • Barium swallow: To emphasize the digestive tract during an X-ray examination, the patient consumes a barium solution.

    The goals of ulcer treatment are symptom relief, healing promotion, and avoidance of complications. The principal interventions comprise:

    • Medication: H2-receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) lessen the production of stomach acid. The H. pylori infection is treated with antibiotics.
    • Lifestyle Modifications: Steer clear of NSAIDs, cut back on alcohol, stop smoking, and learn how to handle stress are all ways to avoid and treat ulcers.
    • Dietary adjustments: Reducing the amount of food consumed and eating more often, smaller meals can help ease symptoms.

    Problems with Untreated Ulcers:

    Untreated ulcers can result in major side effects like:

    • Bleeding: Internal bleeding might happen, which can cause Anaemia and necessitate immediate medical attention.
    • Perforation: When a hole forms in the duodenum or stomach wall, it can cause excruciating discomfort in the abdomen and necessitate immediate surgery.
    • Obstruction: Food may not be able to pass through the digestive tract due to swelling or scarring from ulcers, which can result in vomiting and weight loss.


    The ability to distinguish between duodenal, gastric, and peptic ulcers is crucial for medical gastroenterology practitioners to treat and manage patients effectively. Those who are aware of the causes, signs, and therapies associated with these ulcers are better able to take preventative action and seek prompt medical intervention. In Supreme Hospitals, our gastroenterology doctors offer accurate diagnosis and course of treatment if you have chronic stomach discomfort or other ulcer-related symptoms.

    Your overall gut health can be improved and the risk of problems can be greatly decreased by identifying the warning symptoms and acting early. Recall that Medical Gastroenterology is essential to treating and controlling ulcers, improving patient outcomes and quality of life.

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