A stomach ulcer is an open sore on the lining of the stomach.
Stomach ulcers most commonly occur in patients taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) or in people infected with a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Cancerous growths can also cause ulceration of the stomach lining.
Patients with an ulcer of the stomach often complain of a burning or gnawing pain in the upper abdomen, especially after eating. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, or bleeding (vomiting blood or passing black or bloody stools).
Stomach ulcers can be diagnosed by x-rays or an endoscopy, which involves passing a flexible tube through the mouth into the esophagus and stomach to directly look at the lining of the stomach.
Stomach ulcers are easily treated by medications that reduce acid production. Patients with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection should also receive antibiotic therapy to eliminate the infection from the stomach, as this will reduce the risk of ulcer recurrence.