Duodenal Ulcer

(Peptic Ulcer of the Duodenum)


A duodenal ulcer is a sore in the lining of the intestine. The first part of the small intestine, just past the stomach, is called the duodenum.
Duodenal Ulcer
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Upsets in the balance of stomach acid and digestive juices can lead to an ulcer. This can be caused by:
  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection
  • Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Less common causes include:

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of duodenal ulcer include:
  • H. pylori infection
  • Taking NSAIDs for a long time and at higher doses
  • Prior peptic ulcer disease
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcohol use disorder


Duodenal ulcers do not always cause symptoms. Symptoms may come and go. Food or fluids sometimes make symptoms better. Having an empty stomach may make symptoms worse. However, symptoms can occur at any time.Symptoms may include:
  • Gnawing pain:
    • May awaken you from sleep
    • May change when you eat
    • May last for a few minutes or several hours
    • Feels like unusually strong hunger pangs
    • May be relieved by taking antacids
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Weight loss
Ulcers can cause serious problems and severe abdominal pain. One problem is bleeding. Bleeding symptoms may include:
  • Bloody or black, tarry stools
  • Vomiting what looks like coffee grounds or blood
  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
A perforated ulcer is a break through the wall of the duodenum. It causes sudden and severe pain.

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