An ulcer is a break or discontinuity in a bodily membrane that prevents the organ of which that membrane is a part from continuing to perform its normal functions. Ulcers can be caused by a number of different conditions. Ulcers of the stomach, also referred to as gastric ulcers, are painful sores that can develop in the lining of the stomach. Peptic ulcer disease can take many forms, including stomach ulcers. Ulcers that affect both the stomach and the small intestines are collectively referred to as peptic ulcers.
Ulcers of the stomach develop when there is a reduction in the thick layer of mucus that normally protects the stomach from the digestive juices. Because of this, the digestive acids are able to eat away at the tissues that line the stomach, which ultimately results in the development of an ulcer.
Ulcers in the stomach can be easily treated, but if left untreated, they can worsen and become life-threatening.