What are ulcers; what brings about ulceration?

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What are ulcers; what brings about ulceration?

Ulcer is a term which refers to a wound or a sore injuring the inner lining of the organs mostly of the digestive tract. Ulcers are usually referred to as Peptic ulcers. A peptic ulcer may occur in the lower oesophagus, stomach or duodenum, jejunum or rarely in the ileum also. Based on the location, ulcers may be classified into two types- gastric ulcers and duodenal ul­cers.

Gastric ulcers usually occur singly and lie in the lesser curvature of the stomach. Due to hypersecretion of acids, the protective mucosa covering gets digested and the inner blood capillaries are exposed often leading to perforations (holes). Many a time when perforations are deep, it leads to internal haemorrhage (bleeding).

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Duodenal ulcers are wounds that occur in the first part of duodenum (duodenal cap).

Causes of Ulceration – The following may be said to be the causes for ulcer formation.

1. Heredity – patients with ulcers often have a family history of the dis­ease.

2. Occupation – people who take up professions requiring high mental activity are prone to stress and strain and worry, having to meet a target within a specified time is likely to develop ulcers.

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3. Age – Ulceration is usually absent in children. Adults above the age of 20 are prone to ulceration.

4. Mucosal resistance – Ulcer is caused due to the digestion of mucosa by the acid contained in the gastric juice.

5. Smoking – There is a clear connection between smoking and duodenal ulcers.

6. Microorganisms – Recent researches have shown that certain bacteria (Helicobacter pylori ) which are present in the gastric mucosa can cause duodenal ulcers.

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