The stomach is filled with highly acidic fluids, whose role is to break down the foods we eat, while the stomach itself is protected from those fluids by a powerful internal membrane. The various types of ulcers are created, when this membrane breaks up or is injured.
There many factors that can cause stomach ulcers: bacteria, bad eating habits, over-the-counter medications, smoking, and even stress. The most common types of ulcers are the following: peptic ulcers, gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, esophageal, bleeding, refractory, and stress ulcers.
The most common among all types of ulcers are peptic ulcers, and they basically refer to gastrointestinal tissue damage. Eight out of ten times, a group of helical-shaped bacteria called Helicobacter pylori are responsible for peptic ulcers. This type of ulcer creates physical discomfort in the abdominal area and can occur either after a meal or when your stomach is left without food for several hours. Depending on the severity of your condition, a peptic ulcer can last from one and up to four hours. Gastric ulcers that occur in the stomach area are also caused by the H. pylori bacterium. If you are suffering from gastric ulcers, you need to seek medical help. Besides shifting to a less acidic diet, a doctor will also prescribe anti-acids, and in some cases antibiotics that will fight off the bacterium. The third type of ulcers on the list are duodenal ulcers. They are pretty much like peptic ulcers, the difference being that they are limited to the duodenum area, instead of the whole gastrointestinal tract. Esophageal ulcers, on the other hand, are lesions that occur in the area of the esophagus. The esophagus is the food pipe that shows food the way to your stomach right after you swallow it. Esophageal ulcers are very often caused by a damaged stomach valve; instead of closing tightly, the valve has become loose through time, thus allowing stomach fluids to move up to the food pipe. That’s is also why this type of ulcers is associated with what we call a heartburn.
Now, with regards to bleeding and refractory ulcers, these are essentially connected to peptic ulcers. If you are trying to get rid of a peptic ulcer and your efforts are unsuccessful for more that three months, then your ulcer is classified as refractory. In other words, a refractory ulcer is one of those types of ulcers that are manageable, but not curable. To the contrary, a bleeding ulcer is a peptic ulcer that you could have cured but you neglected to do so. As a result, the disease has become so severe that there is an internal bleeding, thus making it the most dangerous among all types of ulcers. Unless it is treated immediately, it can turn out to be fatal. Last but not least, a stress ulcer is an ulcer directly linked to the sufferers stress. The more stress you are experiencing, the worse your stress ulcer will be. The most effective treatment in this is a psychologist or a very understanding friend, rather than some kind of medication.
Ulcers can also be caused or worsened by drugs such as