Peptic ulcers are open sores in the lining of the stomach, the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum), or in the oesophagus (food pipe). These painful sores develop when the acidic digestive fluids in the stomach eat away the lining of the organs.
If peptic ulcers are not treated, they can lead to serious complications including bleeding in the stomach and perforation (tear) of the stomach wall. The peptic ulcers are named according to where they occur:
- Duodenal ulcers develop in the duodenum
- Gastric ulcers develop in the stomach
- Oesophagus ulcers develop in the lower part of the oesophagus