Display Mode:

    Main content

    Health Information

    Types of Peptic Ulcers

    Types of Peptic Ulcers

    Skip to the navigation

    Topic Overview

    There are two different types of peptic ulcers . They are:

    • Gastric ulcers, which form in the lining of the stomach.
    • Duodenal ulcers, which form in the upper small intestine.

    Both types of peptic ulcers are most commonly caused either by infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria or by frequent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) .

    The symptoms of gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers are similar, except for when pain occurs.

    • Pain from a gastric ulcer often occurs when food is still in the stomach, shortly after eating.
    • Pain from a duodenal ulcer often occurs when the stomach is empty, several hours after eating, and may improve after eating. Pain also may wake you in the middle of the night.

    Symptoms alone cannot be used to distinguish a gastric ulcer from a duodenal ulcer. Tests such as an endoscopy or an upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series may need to be used to find out the location of an ulcer.

    Gastric ulcers often heal more slowly than duodenal ulcers. A gastric ulcer that does not respond to treatment could be cancer. Your doctor will most likely recommend a biopsy of a gastric ulcer before beginning treatment. The biopsy will make sure there is no cancer hiding in the ulcer.


    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology

    Current as ofAugust 9, 2016

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

    © 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.