What Causes Stomach Ulcers?

About 10 to 20 per cent of all the people in Europe and America suffer from peptic ulcers at some time in their lives. What is an ulcer and what causes it? The gastric juice that is manufactured in the stomach contains hydrochloric acid, mucus, and an enzyme called “pepsin”.

Pepsin breaks down protein in the food into simpler substances. Sometimes, however, the mixture of pepsin and acid acts on the wall of the digestive tract and the result is a peptic ulcer. These ulcers usually occur in the walls of the stomach.

People who develop such ulcers usually have a higher concentration of hydrochloric acid than is normal. There are other conditions that help in the formation of an ulcer, or hold back the healing process once one is formed.

Tense, ambitious, hard-driving people are more likely to develop  peptic ulcers than very calm people. Smoking may make an ulcer worse or delay healing of an ulcer. Coarse food also retards healing.

But this disease may actually occur in any type of person at any age (though it is rare under the age ten). men get it four times as often as women.

How do you know if you have an ulcer? The pain tells you! The pain may occur from 30 to 60 minutes after eating. This pain rarely comes in the morning, usually follows after lunch and dinner. And it may occur at night, after midnight.

The pain of stomach ulcer is usually relieved by eating. When a patient has a peptic ulcer, his doctor puts him on a diet of soft foods with a lot of milk and cream, and orders him to rest and avoid fear and worry.

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