Gastroduodenal ulcers, often referred to as stomach ulcers, have long been associated with stress and spicy foods. However, contrary to popular belief, these factors are not the root cause. In fact, the majority of these ulcers are caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. More than 50% of people over the age of 60 are infected with this bacterium, but only 16 to 20% of them will experience stomach problems.
The second leading cause of gastroduodenal ulcers is the use of acetylsalicylic acid and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. These anti-inflammatory drugs can penetrate the stomach lining and release substances that damage the cells. NSAIDs also interfere with the action of prostaglandins, natural chemicals that protect and repair cells.
Among the individuals most at risk of developing a stomach ulcer are:
Lastly, excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of gastroduodenal ulcers, although it is not the actual cause.
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