We have all heard the term ulcer, especially when it is used in anger and frustration such as in a sentence such as “stop it or you will give men an ulcer”. However, an ulcer is a medical condition and more particularly a sore that is open and which can hurt quite a bit. When these sores occur in the upper region of the small intestines or in the stomach they are referred to as peptic ulcers.
One Tenth Of The Population Is Affected
These kinds of ulcers are quite common and according to doctors in the US it is a condition that affects about a tenth of the population at least once during their lifetimes. According to conventional wisdom it has always been believed that these sores occurred because of stress as well as because of eating spiced up foods and even alcohol was held responsible for developing this condition. However, modern science has a different take and in the case of peptic ulcers it has been found that the real reason for such a condition is because of bacterial infections in a person’s stomach as well as in their upper intestines and in addition the condition occurs due to taking certain medications as well as because of smoking cigarettes.
The study of ulcers has however thrown up some even more very interesting findings and the people responsible for such interesting findings, Barry Marshall and also Robin Warren who are doctors by profession, actually discovered that certain kinds of bacteria could thrive in the stomach and cause the problem. Both went on to win the Nobel Prize for their discoveries. Such bacteria are known as Helicobacter pylori and today every doctor worth his salt knows that it is this bacterium that causes peptic ulcers.
In fact, about twenty percent of the population below forty years of age is likely to be affected by these Helicobacter pylori bacteria and what’s more, about ninety percent of all people that suffer from ulcers will have been infected by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Of course, stress too is a reason why some people develop ulcers though this is something that only happens when people are under severe physical or emotional stress.
A stomach ulcer is also referred to as gastric ulcer and it is caused whenever tissue lining in the stomach breaks. Until the discovery of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria it was widely believed that this was a condition that was caused by smoking and stress as too a poor diet. Now, we know better!