A peptic ulcer is an erosion in the lining of the stomach, duodenum, or oesophagus. An ulcer is a sore or erosion that forms when the lining of the digestive system is corroded by the acidic digestive juices, if neglected, leads to formation of a hole. It is estimated that between 5% to 10% of adults globally are affected by peptic ulcer at least once in their lifetime.
When peptic ulcer affects the stomach it is called gastric ulcer. If it affects duodenum it is called a duodenal ulcer, while an esophageal ulcer is an ulcer in the oesophagus. When the lining of these organs is corroded by acidic digestive juices secreted by stomach cells peptic ulcers can form(Figure).
The first symptom of peptic ulcer is usually stomach pain - caused by the ulcer and intensified by stomach acid coming in contact with it. However, it is not uncommon for people to have a peptic ulcer and no symptoms at all. Even though stomach ache is the first symptom, most stomach aches are not serious and do not mean the individual is ill.