Q. What is a peptic ulcer and why does it have this name?

A. We have briefly talked about the stomach and duodenum, two important sections of the gastrointestinal system. Now, let us look at this area in more detail, for huge numbers of people suffer from horrid little sores on the lining of the stomach and duodenum called peptic ulcers.

If you are interested in how words are manufactured, peptic comes from the Greek peptein which means to digest. So, the ulcers are related to digestion.

There are two forms, those that develop in the stomach which are termed gastric or stomach ulcers, and those which form in the next part of the bowel system, duodenal ulcers. Doctors often write G.U., or D.U. for short, and this is an accepted part of their shorthand system. They may occur in other parts of the bowel, but are uncommon.

Really, an ulcer is an erosion of the surface lining of the organ.


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