2. Stress is not the cause of disease
Stress does not cause peptic ulcers. However, it may make your symptoms worse, according to the Mayo Clinic.In most cases, peptic ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection caused by bacteria Helicobacter pylori, sometimes causing inflammation of the stomach lining and leading to ulcers. According to the NIH, 90 percent of small intestinal ulcers and 70 to 90 percent of gastric ulcers are caused by this bacteria.
The second most common cause of ulcers is long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can cause a reduction in the stomach lining that helps protect the lining of the stomach and small intestine. Women and older adults appear to be more susceptible to this effect, according to Harvard Medical School.
3. Some people are more at risk than others
Peptic ulcers can occur at any age but are rare in childhood. Men are more likely to develop this disease than women. People aged 55 to 65 are at the highest risk of developing ulcers in the first section of the small intestine, or duodenum.
People with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic headaches who use high doses of NSAIDs over a long period of time are at increased risk of developing peptic ulcers. But anyone who uses NSAIDs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen) is also at risk for gastrointestinal problems.
4. Signs you may need medical attention
If you have heartburn or mild abdominal pain, over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers can relieve your symptoms. The Mayo Clinic says you should seek medical attention if the pain returns. You should also talk to a medical professional if you have ulcer symptoms or feel dizzy or light-headed, according to Penn Medicine.
In severe cases, symptoms may include dark or black stool (due to bleeding), vomiting, weight loss, and severe abdominal pain. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Also seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms of shock, such as fainting, excessive sweating, or confusion.